Fernie finishes sixth in big Randwick race
"SHE gave 100%. That's all we can ask of her."
Those were the words of Coffs Harbour trainer Paul Smith after Ferniehirst finished sixth in the Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick.
"I'm really proud of my horse but the winner was very good," he added.
The little mare led the field until the top of the famous rise with jockey Adam Hyeronimus on board and was battling hard for a place with a furlong of the 1400 metre journey remaining before being overtaken late.
The winner of the race was the Jenny Graham trained Victorem who produced a withering run up the inside to take the major prize.
While drawing the inside gate provided an advantage tactically for the Floral Dynamite mare, Smith believes it may have contributed to his six year-old not being able to stay closer to the winner in the final stages.
"Drawing the one alley she stayed in the barrier for a while and she was slow out of the gates," he said.
"She wasn't quick on the button. She got to the front but it must've been pretty quick early and she might've wasted some energy getting up on the speed."
While naturally disappointed not to get the major prize himself, Smith said he was happy for Graham to get the win.
"I'm pleased for Jenny Graham," he said.
"She's had a bit of bad luck of late so to turn it around like this is good to see and the jockey Ben Looker is a great bloke. He travels a lot and takes a lot of rides so he deserves his win."
Smith said it's more than likely Ferniehirst will have a spell in the paddock now wbut won't make a final decision until he assesses her health when they return to the Coffs Harbour stable.
"There's some metropolitan races around that aren't as tough as that race that she could win but we'll wait and see," he said.