No dream run for Pauling and Denarius as Show Court wins A.P. Smithwick
There was no successful American raid for Ben Pauling as Oskar Denarius finished last of the seven runners in Saratoga's $175,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial Handicap on Monday with victory going to Show Court (Arch Kingsley jnr/Michael Mitchell).
The Grade 1 handicap was postponed for four days due to inclement weather and experience came to the fore once it was run, as Show Court – at nine the oldest horse in the field – was victorious.
The Irish-bred had graduated from the novice ranks a year ago in Saratoga's Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes, making two subsequent Grade 1 starts and came home sixth in both of them.
Saratoga is the place where anything can happen and often does. Ridden confidently by Michael Mitchell, Show Court blasted to the lead entering Saratoga's home stretch, tussled with a game Iranistan in mid-stretch, and won by a length.
Iranistan, the 11-10 favourite and showing no signs of inexperience, jumped well on his Grade 1 debut and kept on gamely to the line, but he was no match for the winner trained by Arch Kingsley Jr.
A South Carolina-based horseman who has won at Saratoga both as a jockey and trainer, Kingsley prepped the Vinnie Roe gelding with a third in a Suffolk Downs Flat race for hurdlers. Mitchell, who rode Show Court at Suffolk, was back in the saddle after winning the Kiser with him last July.
At the flag start, MPersonal Start jumped out to the lead ahead of Oskar Denarius and Iranistan, ridden by Darren Nagle. Winner of the Virginia Gold Cup's David Semmes Memorial Steeplechase Stakes in May, Personal Start led the way past the last of eight fences.
With five furlongs remaining, Personal Start began to tire, and Iranistan took up the chase. Show Court, third at the last fence, moved up easily on the inside, reached the leaders leaving the turn, and took the lead early in the stretch.
Iranistan, urged forward vigorously by Nagle, fought on, but Show Court had the answer and slowly expanded his advantage in the final furlong. He ran the Smithwick's 2m½f in 3min 49sec flat on turf rated as good.
As for Mitchell, an English-born jockey who had a successful stint riding in New Zealand, he was winning the Smithwick for the second straight year having scored 12 months previous with Swansea Mile.
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