When Ben Smith decided he wanted to train thoroughbreds, he set about serving a 10-year apprenticeship under the best.
Now in his sixth season in his own right, the Newcastle trainer has the chance to score the biggest win of his career when he saddles up In Her Time in the Group Two Breeders’ Classic (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
“I set myself a goal for about 10 years to work with the best people I could and learn off the best I could,” Smith said.
“It was a long process to get the grounding I wanted but I did it because I wanted to be successful.”
Having worked under the legendary Bart Cummings, Group One winning-trainers Peter Snowden, Greg Eurell and John Thompson, as well as respected horseman Greg Bennett, Smith has seen a range of styles.
Armed with collected wisdom, he has opted to keep In Her Time fresh for her races with trials punctuating back-to-back metropolitan wins at Canterbury in November and December.
“We’ve just waited to find suitable races for her and sometimes that’s four and five weeks between runs,” Smith said.
In Her Time has already taken the 35-year-old to the big stage, running in the 2015 Group Two Tea Rose Stakes and last year’s Provincial Championship Final as a three-year-old.
But she underperformed after striking wet tracks, with Randwick particularly sticky on day two of The Championships.
“She was probably a little bit immature and wasn’t quite ready for those high pressure races,” Smith said.
Now a four-year-old with three wins from eight starts, In Her Time is still eligible for the Provincial Championships but Smith is using the Breeders’ Classic to guide him on her autumn targets.
“I think she’ll run an honest race,” Smith said.
“There’s better credentialed horses than her in it and she’s probably not as well weighted as some of the others, but she’s in good order so we just hope we can have a forward showing.”
One of eight horses Smith has in work, In Her Time impressed her trainer with her work on Wednesday morning and he is looking forward to another shot at a maiden stakes victory.
“It’s a thrill – we can’t wait,” he said.No tags for this post.