Back from Birdsville
HORSE RACING: In Birdsville, you have to expect the unexpected, according to cup veteran Craig Smith.
The Roma-based trainer and his team returned from the desert race meeting with a number of prizes under their belt, which is no mean feat on the dusty track.
"It can be challenging but that's just Birdsville,” Smith said.
"Friday was windy and there was a bit of dust about and Saturday was a perfect day.
"The track probably raced a little bit leader-biased but every horse had to handle it and whoever handled it best was the winner.”
His top jockey, Nathan Day, won Saturday's opening maiden plate, riding The Scoop, a four-year-old gelding which celebrated a milestone at Birdsville.
"The Scoop won his first race out there on the weekend and it was actually almost four years to the day since he was born.
"Having the horse win his first race on his birthday was very special.”
The maiden plate is one challenge but the Birdsville Cup is always hotly contested and keeps trainers keep coming back.
"[The cup] is a race that I find very hard to win,” Smith said.
"I've won a couple of them but it is hard, which gives you a driving ambition to go back.”
Smith took out the title in 2012 with Dancefloor Prodigy and last year with Fast Fella.
This year, he wasn't disappointed either.
"We were quite happy with our weekend, if you get a winner in Birdsville, it's all good,” he said
"There was a good crowd and a party atmosphere.”