Taylor worried over Capel Flyer
Jim Taylor

Jim Taylor vividly recalls how Smoko demolished his sprinter True Storm at Belmont Park just over 12 months ago.

Smoko won by four lengths and ran the 1000m in a scintillating 56.49sec.

Since then the Bullsbrook trainer has dodged the Capel Flyer, who extended his winning streak to five to become WA's most promising sprinter.

However, Taylor could not avoid a showdown any longer, with his quality mare Magnifisio to face off against Smoko in today's $100,000 Beaufine Stakes (1000m) at Belmont Park.

It promises to be an intriguing battle. Magnifisio is chasing a fifth consecutive feature win. Smoko is making his debut in top company. Smoko opened a $1.60 favourite on Thursday, with Magnifisio at $4.60.

Yesterday, punters backed last-start Group 3 Roma Cup winner Magnifisio into $4, with Smoko easing to $1.70.

"I thought True Storm could win that race but Smoko blew her away," Taylor said.

"So all of this time I've dodged him but we have to meet here because there is nowhere else to go."

Magnifisio was left to fly the flag for Taylor after he scratched gun sprinter Barakey, a winner of 12 of his 13 WA starts, on Wednesday. Barakey damaged a hoof in a trial at Belmont Park on Monday.

Taylor concedes that at the weights his mare faces a big task. Magnifisio has 58.5kg but Smoko and the other eight starters will carry only 54kg.

"She is the only horse near him on class and she has to give him 4.5kg," Taylor said. "If the real Smoko turns up, it is going to be hard for her to beat him."

Smoko does concede some fitness to Magnifisio, entering the Beaufine without a trial. His last start was at Ascot in November.

Co-trainer Clint Price is pleased with Smoko's fitness level. Kyra Yuill rode Smoko in a 600m gallop at Bunbury on Tuesday.

"He is the sort of horse we rarely push out because he doesn't need it," Price said. "He is naturally that fit anyway.

"He is probably about 80 per cent fit without having a run but this run will top him off for his next run."

Smoko missed a lead-up start over 1000m a fortnight ago because of an infection.

·The Racing Penalties Appeal Tribunal has refused to give disqualified trainer Shane Edwards a stay of proceedings to allow him to continue to train in Malaysia until his appeal is heard. He received a three-year disqualification on Monday.

The West Australian

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