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By Graham Potter | Saturday, October 15, 2022

The David Vandyke trained Weona Smartone undoubtedly faced the biggest test of his career which he stepped out in the $2 million Sydney Stakes over 1200m at Randwick on October 15.

The betting, with Remarque topping the boards at $4.80 and In The Congo and Waihaha Falls next best at $6, indicated a reasonable open race.

Weona Smartone, who came into the race third-up after a win over 1110m at Doomben and a third place finish at Eagle Farm over 1000, jumped as a $19 chance in the hands of apprentice Kyle Wilson-Taylor, for whom the race represented a massive opportunity.

It was Wilson-Taylor's first ride in Sydney. It was a Group 3 … but if there were any nerves on his part in a theatre in which he would be forgiven for feeling intimidated, he did not show them at all.

Instead, he and the well-prepared Weona Smartone, who, remember, was also in new surroundings, went about their business with absolute professionalism … from the very first stride out of the gates.

Wilson-Taylor made absolutely certain he would make the best use of the number one barrier, pushing Weona Smartone, who was a willing partner in the early forward move, into a perfect position in third spot, on the rail, just a couple of lengths off the lead, a ‘run of the race’ scenario which Wenona Samrtone maintained until the home turn.

Weona Smartone was back to fourth on straightening though, Remarque had gone up wide looking to attack the leaders early, but he was quickly back up to third when Remarque hit a flat spot.

That left the two early leaders Prime Candidate (a $51 outsider) and In The Congo ($6) as the ones seemingly standing between Weona Smartone and Group 1 glory with 300m left to run.

Of the two leaders, it was In The Congo who went on with it, kicking on strongly inside the last 200m.

Approaching the 100m, Weona Smartone switched out marginally around In The Congo’s heels and, for a brief moment, it looked like Weona Smartone might get to In The Congo … but both of these runners were ultimately destined to fill the minor placings as the $61 outsider Rocketing By lived up to his name, producing a finish of rare acceleration to snare In The Congo on the line with Weona Smartone’s brave effort earning him a close-up third place, just 0.45 lengths off the winner.

It was huge run by Weona Smartone with both David Vandyke and Kyle Wilson-Taylor deserving every credit for claiming a superb result.

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Weona Smartone and Kyle Wilson-Taylor

Photo: Graham Potter
Weona Smartone and Kyle Wilson-Taylor

Photo: Graham Potter
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