Robert Smith made his first international ride on the Dutch-bred Senator Kalusha a winning one, when the Warwickshire based rider headed The Eurosport Christmas Stakes, at Olympia.
Drawn last, in the one round Table C competition, where four seconds were added for every knock down, the pair produced an economical clear in 54.84, a time which sliced two seconds from the previous best, set by Andrew Davies riding Mandy Hall’s Gamble (56.19).
Bought from Roelof Bril this summer, Robert found himself with little time to compete the Ulster sired eight-year-old, so he sent him across the Irish Sea for Jimmy McLoskey to ride.
“There is no better man than Jimmy for producing horses, and he put some valuable miles on the clock” said Robert.
After winning the Masters at Eglinton for Jimmy, the scopey grey also gained placings at Cavan, before returning to Robert.
“I nearly didn’t bring him at all, but Senator For the Best wasn’t just sound, so I thought that I would give him a try. Kalusha was a bit cheeky when we first got him, but he is a very classy jumper, and I have high hopes for him”.
Clear rounds proved elusive at the start of the competition, and speed specialists Andrew Davies, Geoff Luckett (Favorite 57.12) and John Renwick (Brookend Fuhrer 59.08) were the early leaders after producing crowd pleasing rounds, the trio setting fast times, but at the expense of rails down.
Making full use of his last draw, Robert made his intentions abundantly clear from the outset. Already in over drive when passing through the start beams, the talented grey never looked like faulting, and flew the final fence, which had proved a bogey.
“I didn’t think that we had been travelling that fast, but this horse has such a deceptive stride” said the delighted rider.
The Eurosport Christmas Cake Stakes results. 1, Senator Kalusha (R Smith); 2, Gamble (A Davies); 3, Favorite (G Luckett); 4, Brookend Fuhrer (J Renwick); 5, Ballaseyr Rodrigo (C Hanley); 6, Baltimoor (G Gulliksen).