Smithson’s Vice Grip on Perth Cup

Caption: Adam Smithson and Chontae White with Vice Grip

WA News with James Broadhurst

Vice Grip is arguably the most improved chaser in Australia and the powerful black speedster continued his amazing rise when he captured the Group 1 Perth Cup (520m) at Cannington on March 19.

The victory was a massive boast for up-and-coming trainer Adam Smithson, 28, as well as a testament to brilliant transformation he has engineered with Vice Grip.

After some shaky moments in his heat the previous week Vice Grip only just scaped into the final as the slowest qualifier, but he saved his best for when it counted the most in the trophy decider.

From box five Vice Grip launched beautifully to edge ahead of race favourtite Lala Kiwi in the run to the first turn.

Once he found the front Vice Grip was always going to be hard to reel in especially after Lala Kiwi copped a check and was shuffled back to the rear of the field.

Vice Grip skipped away in the back straight and never looked like he was in danger as he rolled to the score by more than six lengths ahead of runner-up Archibald in a PB and race record time of 29.42.

Smithson admitted even he was stunned by his dog’s effort.

“I’m lost for words to be honest,” he said immediately after the race. “He did everything right, he speared to the front and made his own luck.

“Down the back I thought ‘wow, is this really happening?’.

“I’m still in disbelief. I can’t believe it’s happened.”

Vice Grip joined Smithson’s kennels in September last year not long after running fourth in the Darwin Cup.

Up until that point Vice Grip had produced some handy but not especially noteworthy performances racing mainly in Victoria and Tasmania.

Vice Grip has thrived under Smithson’s guidance.

He picked the Group 2 All Stars Sprint in October and was WA’s representative in the Phoenix.

During that time Vice Grip has racked up 11 wins and has rarely missed a podium finish.

Earlier in the evening Mambo Monelli delivered a dominant frontrunning performance to capture the Group 1 Galaxy (715m).

The black and white sensation from Steve Withers’ kennels went to the boxes as a warm favourite on the back of superb run of form and he established his command of the race in the first few strides after a typically quick jump.

Mambo Monelli led his rivals for the entire journey before crossing the finish line more than two lengths ahead of the late charging Mepunga Ruby in 41.59 sec.

Not surprisingly Withers said he and his team will ‘take our chances’ by pursuing some the big staying races around the nation with Mambo Monelli over the next few months.

“You don’t get good dogs very often so to have an opportunity with a nice dog that’s got speed like that as a front runner, you’ve got to take it,” Withers said.

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