Smoken SA Cup performance

10 January 2011 | Aaron Bain
Lance Justice salutes to the crowd in the 2011 SA Cup.

Lance Justice salutes to the crowd in the 2011 SA Cup. Photo by Arclight Photography

Smoken Up bought the crowd to their feet returning to scale after undoubtedly his career best performance to win the 2011 $100,000 Group 1 Sky Racing SA Cup. When posted three wide for the first 1400m, it seemed as if Smoken Up was going to have to settle for second prize yet again until his classed prevailed.
In a league of his own, Smoken Up began from barrier nine and Lance was adamant leading into the race that he wanted to get out of harm’s way and race on the speed. By doing so Lance was straight off with the Grand Circuit star and was set to take up the position outside the leader until, Kate Gath was unable to restrain Renaissance Man completely and forced Smoken Up to race three wide similar to the 2010 SA Cup.
Kate Gath did all she could in her power to restrain the star juvenile until eventually Smoken Up had too much speed with 1400m to travel and pursued the challenge further finding himself in front with Kerryn Manning aboard Standelle electing it was in her best interests to follow the $1.70 fixed odds favourite.
In a lead time of 77.1 and first sectionals of 29.3 and 30.9 seconds, Smoken Up was three wide pressing on. Favourite punters found some relief though when Smoken Up rolled to the top but were not at all confident considering the work he had already faced let alone when local star Ohoka Nevada got clear running from three fence with 500m to travel.
Allowed to receive a breather with a lap to run in a 29.8 third quarter when Renaissance Man began to tire on his run Lance Justice let ‘Trigger’ slide and put a gap on his rivals except for his two biggest dangers. Standelle had faced his fair share of work after leading early in the speed burn while Ohoka Nevada had not used an ounce of effort sitting quiet three fence. Billinger angled Ohoka Nevada to the outside with 400m to run and the crowd began to roar and cheer home the local star and even commentator Jim Jacques felt the SA Cup was staying home for the first time since 1989.
Smoken Up was asked for every effort he had left by trainer/driver Justice and as champions do, Smoken Up responded and kicked clear. Billinger went for Ohoka Nevada at the famous Norman’s Gates with 300m to travel and Manning urge Standelle to chase out after Group 1 glory but the class and experience of Smoken Up was set to prevail.
Lance was confident turning for home and stated on radio Sunday morning he considered saluting on turning for the judge the last time. The three favored runners cleared out on the field and Smoken Up was able to hold off all challengers thrown down by his only dangers to win by 2.70m over Standelle and Ohoka Nevada a further 0.6m away in third.
Smoken Up closed out the 2645m staying journey in a slick 27.2 for a last half of 57.0 and a mile rate of 1:58.2. One just could not imagine the time run if the Barastoc Grand Circuit leader found the lead early and was setting the pace on the fence rather than three wide covering an extra 12.6m a lap around the 845.5m circuit.
Smoken Up now leads the Barastoc Grand Circuit with 13 points, 3 points clear of Mr Feelgood and Monkey King.
Smoken Up is now headed towards the Bendigo Cup before accepting the 10m handicap in the $425,000 BIG6 Hunter Cup on February 5.