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By Graham Potter | Saturday, December 4, 2021

If you are a fan of Weona Smartone you wouldn’t want this one over again.

Sure, it doesn’t matter how much a horse wins by … and Weona Smartone certainly did win again, for the eighth successive time to be exact, but it was heart-stopping stuff over the concluding stages as it became a race against time for Weona Smartone to get to the line ahead of the free-running $25 chance Elixir who seriously threatened to upstage the $1.50 favourite.

Weona Smartone had come to the Gold Coast on December 4 for this Open Handicap over 1100m in preference to a run in the Group 3 George Moore at Doomben. He entered the race as clearly the best horse in the field, but that record came with a cost with Weona Smartone being set to carry top weight of 60.5kg … meaning that the Shamexpress gelding would have to give between 4.5kg and 7kg at the weights to all of his six rivals.

Elixir was the runner with the 7kg advantage over Wenona Smartone and boy did he attempt to make it count over the final 150m making Weona Smartone carry his weight every step of the way to the line.

Weona Smartone, who was being ridden by Noel Callow for the first time, wasn’t the best away at the jump and settled in the second half of the field. As a result of that, to make ground approaching the home turn, Weona Smartone had to switch out wider on the track to find room in which to accelerate, and he duly moved right into contention on straightening, albeit racing five wide.

From there Weona Smartone ran on well enough but was not able to put the opposition away quickly and when Elixer kicked again inside the final 120m to claim a narrow advantage, Weona Smartone suddenly had a real race on his hands … but the five-year-old’s mental toughness shone through as he continued to stretch out with meaning to claim a last gasp victory.

While it would have been an absolute boilover had Weona Smartone got beaten … and many would have expected him to win more fluently … the fact that he continued on his merry winning way when first-up and giving the runner-up 7kg at the weights underlines his quality and the performance once again ticked many boxes.

A race record of eight wins from nine starts with $193 000 banked in prize-money speaks for itself.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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