Melton trainer-driver Lance Justice told Sky Racing this morning he hoped to take Smoken Up on a farewell tour before retiring the superstar pacer.
“I’m half aiming for maybe a run in a few weeks’ time in Adelaide, a run in Sydney and a run in Melbourne,” he told Andrew Bensley and Adam Hamilton.
Asked if it would be a farewell tour, Justice replied: “Yeah, I think so. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. I mean he’s getting to the end of the line. He’d love to keep racing but if he can’t keep winning it’s not going to be any good to him. So we won’t do that.”
Justice said he had been in contact with officials in South Australia – where he was based before his move to Victoria – and he would receive a month’s notice ahead of a suitable race.
The Globe Derby farewell would be pretty special for Smoken Up’s South Australian fans as the 11-year-old has won an unprecedented four SA Cups at the venue.
Following his South Australian send-off Justice hopes to head to Sydney for one final run at Menangle before returning home for Smoken Up’s last ever run at Melton’s Tabcorp Park.
If Smoken Up’s farewell run does occur at Melton, Tabcorp Park and Harness Racing Victoria will celebrate the champion’s illustrious career with a special Smoken Up Swansong evening.
“I think we try and find a suitable race for him in Adelaide … then hopefully I can get up to Menangle for the same sort of program, have a month lead-in to it, and then a farewell at Melton and then he can hang up the shoes,” Justice said.
“If I could (give him his last ever start at Melton) that would be terrific, so long as he’s well and he’s fit.”
Smoken Up has raced 148 times for an astounding 73 wins, 38 seconds and 14 thirds. His best ever winning mile rate was a blistering 1:48.5.
This season he’s had 21 starts for six wins and nine minor placings for earnings of $229,643.