Brave Smash eyes All-Star, with Dubai as back-up

4 min read

By Bren O'Brien

The All-Star Mile remains the most likely autumn destination for Brave Smash (Jpn) (Tosen Phantom {Jpn}), despite the 6-year-old being among 18 Australian-trained horses nominated for the Dubai World Cup meeting in March.

Brave Smash is one of 11 horses nominated for the US$2m Al Quoz Sprint, including fellow Group 1 winners Land of Plenty (Stratum), Santa Ana Lane (Lope De Vega {Ire}), Viddora (I Am Invincible) and Voodoo Lad (I Am invincible).

But Australian Bloodstock, who bought Brave Smash from Japan, have confirmed that the Al Quoz was a back-up option and Plan A was to step the G1 Manikato S. winner through the two Group 1 1400m weight-for-age races at Caulfield on his way to Flemington.

Luke Murrell congratulates Hugh Bowman aboard Brave Smash

"It’s probably a slim chance at this stage. We just have to keep our options open," Australian Bloodstock's Luke Murrell, told TDN AusNZ of Brave Smash's Dubai prospects.

"I think now that the $5m race has popped up, and everybody has seen that he is much better at 1400m than 1200m. This prep we get our chance to try that and hopefully then we can progress to the mile race. We’ll go the Orr and Future and into the All-Star Mile."

"We just have to keep our options open." - Luke Murrell

With Aquis Farm buying into Brave Smash, this is likely to be his last preparation with a stud career beckoning in the spring. He kicked that preparation off with a ninth in the G2 Australia S. last Friday, a run which Murrell said was very much about preparation.

"It was what was expected. It was always going to be a bit ugly. Darren (Weir) expected as much and said being a colt, he was a little bit gross and the best way to get into those better races is to let him have a burn around behind them. We are trying to have a longer-term view in mind," he said.

A dual Group 1 winner, he certainly boasts the credentials to get a spot in the field, but as things stand, he is 29th in the public vote for the race. Only the top ten voted by the public are guaranteed starts, with four wildcards spots offered.

Jockey Hugh Bowman with trainer, Darren Weir

Murrell said there were strategies in place to significantly boost Brave Smash's vote in the coming weeks.

"We have got plans to get a few more votes. Hopefully he can get in without needing the votes, but we've spoken about a few options over the next week," he said.

"We have got plans to get a few more votes. Hopefully he can get in without needing the votes." - Luke Murrell

Oohood (I Am invincible) is another All-Star Mile entrant who has been nominated for an event in Dubai, in her case the US$6m G1 Dubai Turf.

She is joined by Group 1 winners Aloisia (Azamour {Ire}), Comin' Through (Fastnet Rock), Land Of Plenty and Shillelagh (NZ) (Savabeel) in being nominated for the 1800m race.

McEvoy told that Dubai was part of a back-up plan as well, with the G1 Flight S. winner likely to target Group 1 mares races in Sydney this time in.

Oohood is also nominated for Dubai

"If Sheikh Khalifa (owner of Oohood) is really keen to go and she's in the right form then we'll probably run her at Meydan on March 30," McEvoy said.

The Lindsay Park-trained Faatinah (Nicconi), who is already in Dubai and won at Meydan earlier this month, is nominated for both the US$2.5m G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen and the Al Quoz Sprint, while Chris Waller's stayer Libran (Ire) (Lawman {Fr}) holds entries for both the $6m G1 Dubai Sheema Classic and the $1.5m G2 Dubai Gold Cup.