*Story by Greg Tobin, Aushorse
Next time you’re wondering if industry professionals are dispassionate about the horses they train, ride or breed, it will be well worth taking a look at the post-race interview of Lindsey Smith celebrating Scales of Justice’s victory in Saturday’s Group Three The Big Screen Company Bletchingly Stakes over 1200 metres at Caulfield.
Without wishing to age Smith prematurely, it’s hardly the Perth/Warrnambool trainer’s first time on the black type merry-go-round, having saddled up the winners of eight Group Ones: among them Old Comrade and Old Money way back in 2000.
Still, it was an emotion charged Smith who faced the cameras after the Bletchingly, revealing that it’s been a long road back for Scales of Justice who won the Group One Railway Stakes in December 2016, but had been out of the winners’ enclosure since mid-2017 after capturing the Group Three Strickland Stakes at Belmont.
However, Smith’s 6-year-old flyer was firing on all cylinders at Caulfield, sitting just off the pace until turning for home before scooting away in the final stages to score with over three lengths to spare.
“I didn’t think he was going to race again,” Smith points out, referring to a number of injuries Scales of Justice has sustained in the past year. “I’ve nursed him and spoiled him, but he showed on Saturday that it worth all the effort.
“He’s a wonderful horse…got the best eye and best character of any I’ve ever dealt with. It’s easy to get emotional…they are like your children.”
One of the most highly regarded trainers in Western Australia and renowned for his eastern ‘raids’ (Old Comrade won three Group Ones in Perth before capturing the 2002 Australian Cup, while Plastered won the 2004 Victoria Derby), Smith took over 40 boxes at Victoria’s Warrnambool racecourse in May.
Since the satellite operation commenced, Smith has had 13 starters for six winners, including a Listed Winter Championship victory via Reykjavik in early July.
With the backing of his biggest owner, Chris Wells (also part-owner of Scales of Justice) and major syndicators such as Brad Spicer Thoroughbreds, it’s not surprising that the ‘bool stable is filling fast.
As for Scales of Justice, the Bletchingly brings his tally to 10 wins and 11 placings from 24 starts for $1,540,450 in stakes, with his trainer currently formulating some ambitious spring plans.
“If he’s back to his best, then he’s a (Group One) Toorak Handicap (12 October) horse or he’ll go home for the (Group One $1 million) Railway Stakes (23 November),” Smith reveals.
More immediately, a Group One Memsie Stakes tilt on 31 August isn’t ruled out, nor would a slot in October’s $14 million The Everest, for that matter.
A son of Not A Single Doubt, Scales of Justice is a half-brother to three winners – including Listed Warrnambool Cup runnerup, Cruyfforme – and is from the Umatilla mare, Beymatilla, a close relation to Flemington Group winner, King Hoaks.
Purchased out of a paddock but never making it to the track, Beymatilla was the first horse Victorians Gerard and Kathy Hammond ever bred from and, understandably, have maintained a close interest in Scales of Justice’s progress.
The mare was eventually given to Richard Kerry and Jarrod Byers at Millford Thoroughbreds, who put Scales of Justice through the 2014 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale on the Hammonds behalf: with the colt eventually being sold to Boomer Bloodstock’s Craig Rounsfell.
Sadly, Beymatilla died three months short of foaling after getting in foal to Magnus in 2015.
“We thought Scales of Justice would make around $80,000 to $100,000 in the ring. He was a slow maturing horse, but had grown out really well at the farm and was always a nice type,” Jarrod Byers recalls.
“Turns out though that both Craig (Rounsefell) and Robbie Laing were very interested in him and he eventually sold for $180,000.
“It was great for Gerard and Kathy … they breed from three or four mares every year and have been long-time clients.
“There’s a lot of swings and roundabouts in this industry. They sold a Written Tycoon colt for just $5,000 at the Magic Millions National Yearling Sale which was then pinhooked as a ready to run horse for $90,000 before going on to win over HK$5 million in Hong Kong as New Asia Sunrise.
“So, it’s great to see when they get a result like they did in Melbourne and, for that matter, the entire Scales of Justice team.”