Star South African race mare, Smart Call, steps out at Newcastle this evening for the Gr3 Stobart Energy Hopping Fillies’ Stakes over 1m 2f on the all weather track.
It is the first running of the Hoppings Fillies’ Stakes at Group 3 level and has attracted a strong field including Mia Tesoro, Glade, Maid To Remember and Company Asset, who finished first, third, fourth and fifth in the 1m 2f Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Nottinghamshire Oaks Stakes at York on 10 June.
Smart Call (Ideal World – Good Judgement) is bred and raced by Mauritzfontein Stud and was conditioned by Alec Laird throughout her South African racing campaign. With victory in the 2016 Gr1 Paddock Stakes securing her a berth in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and her triumphant follow-up victory in the 2016 Gr1 J&B Met underlining her class, the daughter of Ideal World set sail for the world stage.
After an injury set-back put paid to her Breeders’ Cup aspirations, Smart Call was placed in the care of Newmarket trainer Sir Michael Stoute to continue her international campaign.
Smart Call made her European debut in the 1m 2 1/2 f Group 2 Betfred Middleton Stakes on 18 May 2017, where she produced an eye-catching late run to finish 1 1/2 lengths 3rd behind Blond Me, beating stablemate and 2016 Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf heroine, Queen’s Trust in the process.
In June, she followed up with a good effort over a mile in the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at the Ascot Festival, finishing 4th to Qemah under Ryan Moore.
July saw her cross the Irish Sea for a tilt at the Gr1 Pretty Polly Stakes over 1m 2f at the Curragh, where she chased the leaders early, before fading over the final furlong.
In August, she lined up in the Group 1 Darley Prix Jean Romanet over 1m 2f, to finish 1 1/4 lengths 4th to Ajman Princess.
She closed her season in Hong Kong, lining up in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase, where she finished 6 3/4 lengths off Highland Reel.
Smart Call started her 2018 campaign at Kempton on 7 April, where from a wide draw she finished 3 3/4 lengths off Hanaina over a mile in the Listed Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes.
In her last run, the Group 2 Betfred Middleton Stakes over 1 mile 2f at York, she put up an encouraging effort to finish 2 1/2 lengths 3rd to Coronet.
She may still be chasing her first win on the world stage, but with eight international starts to her credit, Smart Call has finished in the money 4 times.
This evening, she will again enjoy the services of jockey Jim Crowley whose strike-rate since Newcastle became an all-weather track is an impressive six from 19, according to the Racing Post.
The field will face the starter at 8:05pm English time (9:05pm local time).