Ability shows plenty in first city win

Article: racing.com

Trainer Robert Smerdon always knew Ability (Reward For Effort) was well-named; it just took a couple of procedures to show it.

Having his first run off a four-month break having had a bone chip removed from his near fore knee and also being gelded, the son of Rewward For Effort let down like a horse with a lot of it to out-sprint them in the Cafetto Handicap (1000m).

Smerdon was thrilled to see the colours belonging to the late Phil Sly continue to thrive on course, with Ability racing for the prominent breeder/owner’s estate.

“This is the one he owned outright, and the family said, ‘let’s keep it’. He always liked him,” Smerdon said.

“So still got his name in the book, the estate of, and still got the colours. It’s a nice memory.”

WATCH: Ability torch it on the run home


The Aquanita trainer said the ultimate gear change was the key to unlocking Ability’s, well, ability.

“I really think the gelding was significant,” he added.

“Phil always had a dream with his colts that maybe he’d get one that’s good enough, that’s why Oak Door’s still an entire, that sort of thing.

“This horse wasn’t in the right head space, and at the end of his last prep he had a chip removed from the knee, and while he was out he was gelded, and he had a long break.

“I reckon he’s grown two inches. He came back off a long break, and he’s been flying all the way through.

“We expected him to come here and pull out a big one, and hopefully he can continue it through the prep.”