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By Graham Potter | Saturday, September 18, 2021

For some time now Weona Smartone has been clearing every hurdle that the David Vandyke stable has put in front of him, and he duly jumped to a new high when converting his run in a Class 6 Handicap over 1200m at the Gold Coast on September 18 into his seventh straight victory.

The lightly raced five-year-old has chalked up an unbeaten record over the last twelve months after scoring his first success back on September 11. 2020. His only defeat in his eight career starts to date came on debut in an isolated run a full nine months before that first win.

The well-performed son of Shamexpress, not surprisingly, started at the prohibitive odds of $1.65 at the Gold Coast … but he did have one particular rival in the form of Tramonto ($3.30) who had finished a 0.40 length second to Desert Lord, another Vandyke runner, in the Goldmarket over the same track and distance.

Ditmas ($9.50) was the only other runner in the eight-horse field who was quoted under the $10 mark … and these three runners duly filled the first three places in the order predicted by the betting.

Ryan Maloney jumped Weona Smartone into the leading line where he was briefly caught three wide early before gaining the outright lead when Maloney asked him to go forward. Tramonto had been up there right from the start as well (Weona Smartone actually crossed Tramonto when going to the lead) and the Jonny Field trained runner was quickly on the back of Weona Smartone and was only a length back at the 600m mark, clearly intent on probing for any weaknesses in the makeup of the favourite.

On the home turn Tramonto was even closer and his jockey Jag Guthmann-Chester must have felt he had Weona Smartone firmly in his sights and with it the chance of scoring an upset victory … but, and we have seen this time and time again, there are very few jockeys better at rating their horse in the run than Ryan Maloney, and, yet again, he was doing that to perfection on Weona Smartone.

When Maloney gave Weona Smartone slightly more rein, the task instantly became more difficult for Tramonto. Even when Guthmann-Chester got more vigorous in the saddle, Maloney was, in essence, still biding his time … and it was only inside the 200m that Maloney gave Weona Smartone the green light to go, from which moment it was race over.

Inside the last 100m Weona Smartone was just under two lengths clear of Tramonto, and while the latter did close gamely to within 0.40 lengths of the winner at the line, that was more to do with Maloney saving his mount from any undue pressure as he already clearly had the race won.

This was an absolutely gem of a result for the Vandyke stable.

You just don’t get a horse winning seven in a row too often.

When you do, you are entitled to saviour the moment!

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Photos: Darren Winningham
Photos: Darren Winningham
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