Mister Smartee will finally get to race in Sydney, two years after Chris Waller’s plans to buy the gelding were undone by a failed veterinary examination.
The now three-year-old arrives at Rosehill – Waller’s training base in the city – via Port Macquarie, where he is among Tas Morton’s small team.
As a yearling, Mister Smartee was knocked down to Sydney’s leading trainer at the Magic Millions sale but soon ended up in Morton’s care.
“Chris bought him but he didn’t pass the scope so he was passed back in,” Morton said.
Mister Smartee was bred by Morton’s friends Andrew and Lasca Bowcock, who asked if he would take the horse on once he was passed fit.
Morton, who took out his training licence in 1970, agreed and after a patient build-up Mister Smartee has the third run of his first preparation in Saturday’s Highway Handicap (1200m).
“I’ve been very patient with him and I’ve had the time because I don’t train for clients any more,” he said.
Morton, 69, has five in work and after watching Mister Smartee run he heads to Grafton where the remainder of his stable line up on Sunday.
Mister Smartee won his maiden last start at Port Macquarie, a performance that convinced Morton to enter a Highway race for country-trained horses for the first time.
“I was going to turn him out and get him ready for the Country Championships but I thought we might as well go for it,” he said.