Unbeaten Filly Is Very Smart

Smart Melody after winning the Listed Cap D'Antibes Stakes.

Smart Melody handled her first black-type assignment with ease (Racing Photos)


How Sweet it is! On Saturday at Flemington, the Kris Lees trained, Smart Melody was having her first real test in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes over 1100m and passed with flying colours.

The Smart Missile filly debuted in June with a five length romp over 900m at Newcastle and followed up with another five panel victory over 1100m at Canterbury some 18 days later.

After a short let up – interrupted by a close up second to Group One winner El Dorado Dreaming in a barrier trial – Smart Melody won comfortably at Wyong on 31 August.

However, Saturday was her first real match up against black type company – which included seasoned and stakes winning rivals like Setsuna and Satin Slipper – but the filly fought on strongly when challenged to score running away.

Smart Melody will now be aimed at the Group Two Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude over 1400m at Caulfield on 30 September before contesting the Group One Thousand Guineas over 1600m at Caulfield on 13 October.

And speaking of ‘flying colours’ … Smart Melody is yet another to carry the famous Gooree Park red and black stripes which have, for decades, adorned some of Australia’s best gallopers.

Gooree Park has bred and raced such outstanding fillies as Group One Flight Stakes winner, Speak Fondly, and the multiple Group One winner, Tempest Morn, but its reputation for producing high quality colts is second to none too with Desert War, the ill-fated but hugely influential, Northern Meteor, Hallowed Crown, Snowland, Prized Icon, Your Song and Hong Kong Horse of the Year, Rapper Dragon, all farm graduates. And so too is Smart Melody’s sire, Smart Missile.

“Smart Missile was a very good 2YO by Fastnet Rock, winning the Breeders’ Plate and Todman (defeating subsequent Golden Slipper winner Sepoy),” Gooree Park’s manager, Andrew Baddock, recalls. “However, while Smart Missile has produced some very good juveniles like Sassy ‘n’ Smart and Irish Bet, they seem to improve with age, just like the Fastnet Rocks.

“She (Smart Melody) is a very good filly and she just gets better the more she races. The sky really is the limit for her. She’s very powerfully built with a massive hindquarter and it was interesting to note that her jockey (Brenton Avdulla) said on Saturday that she feels like a colt.”

The rise and rise of Smart Melody is timely too for Olly and Amber Tait’s Twin Hills Stud at Cootamundra in NSW. Only in its second year of operation, Twin Hills secured Smart Missile earlier this year and is standing the flashy bay for $13,200 inc. GST this spring.

With over 60% winners to runners and his oldest having just turned five, Smart Missile’s runners since the re-location to Twin Hills have included Group Two winning sprinter, I’ll Have A Bit, plus stakes horses Special Missile, Smart Elissim, Missile Coda, My Big Boss and Clockwise.

“Smart Missile has had a great run with his progeny,” Olly Tait enthused. “He was given a terrific opportunity early in his career, has been well supported by Gooree Stud throughout and, importantly, has large numbers of horses coming through.

“His 3YOs, which are his third crop, look like an excellent bunch and are probably benefiting from trainers giving them a little more time than was afforded to his first two crops.

“He clearly has some high class horses including I’ll Have A Bit, but Smart Melody is shaping up to be one of the best 3YO fillies this season.”

Arguably the biggest ‘winner’ from Smart Melody’s success however, is astute breeder/owner, Bob Manwaring, who purchased the filly’s dam, Sweetest Melody, from Gooree Stud for $51,000 at the 2018 Inglis Australian Broodmare Sale.

A stakes winning daughter of Encosta de Lago, Sweetest Melody is closely related to stakes winning juvenile Sir Success and hails from the family of Champion 2YO and Sire, Arazi.

Adding to the mix, Smart Melody was unraced at the time of Manwaring’s purchase, while the mare was in foal to leading sire, Choisir (producing a “cracking colt” just four days ago).

Based at Harden in NSW, Manwaring only has four mares these days but has produced 3-time stakes winner Grande Rosso and Group One winning 2YO, Capital Gain, while retaining racing shares in both.

“I asked Andrew (Baddock) at the sales why they were selling Sweetest Melody,” Manwaring reveals. “I had heard about Kris Lees’s good filly (Smart Melody) and the mare was a well related daughter of Encosta de Lago.

“He explained that they had a lot of very good horses coming through and couldn’t keep them all, so I was fortunately able to get Sweetest Melody for what’s turned out to be a very good price. She’ll be heading to Merchant Navy this spring.

“Meanwhile, the Written Tycoon full sister to Grande Rosso will be offered at January’s Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale and I also picked up a full sister to Written Tycoon, called Invited, for $18,000 at the Stuart Ramsey dispersal in Scone last year.

“Invited foaled down a Starspangledbanner filly last spring that I’ll keep to race, she’s in foal to Pierro and will be heading to Smart Missile this spring.”

The Power of Passion