SMITHY TAKES FLIGHT

Wednesday 24, 2017 2:00 PM By Best Bets

Highlight of Australian racing this Saturday is the running of a brand-new Group 1 race — the Kingsford Smith Cup.

The race is named after the pioneering aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith.

Why, you ask? Because, it seems, Smithy was born a stone’s throw from the Eagle Farm track.

Sadly the Australian Dictionary of Biography is silent on whether he ever attended a race meeting there. But it does tell us the Smiths (as they were then known) emigrated to Canada (temporarily) when the future airman was a small child.

It was in Canada that Smithy’s dad added Kingsford (the mother’s maiden name) to the family name — presumably for marketing purposes, to make his real-estate business sound posher.

And just as well he did, as Australia probably doesn’t need another black-type race named after a bloke called Smith.

While history explains the naming of the race, however, it might be less useful in the search for this Saturday’s winner.

As noted on this page a fortnight ago, the Kingsford Smith Cup is officially a rebranded version of the BTC Cup. But in terms of distance and timing, it has more in common with the “old” Doomben 10,000.

Looking, therefore, to past Doomben 10,000s for precedents, we can note that the race has been good for punters — five favourites or equal favourites have won in the past nine years, and eight of the past 10 winners have started at $6 or less.

We can also observe that no winner has jumped from a double-figure barrier since Mr Innocent in 2000, and that the past 14 winners have jumped from gate seven or inside.

But given that those races were over the Doomben 1350 metres, while this Saturday’s race is over 1300 metres at Eagle Farm, that last observation in particular should probably be taken with a grain of salt.