Wagin-based Angela Smith scaled her greatest heights as a trainer when she prepared Time Frame to win the 1997 Perth Cup.
The rogue galloper, ridden by Dennis Gundry, defied scorching heat to lead throughout and win by one length from Regimental Tattoo.
Smith, a former apprentice jockey in New Zealand, won nine races with Time Frame, who came out of the Fred Kersley stable.
Entering the record books as the fourth female trainer to win Perth’s premier staying event ranks high in Smith’s list of racing achievements.
She joined Fran Gammon, who prepared, Muros (1977), Kaye Miller with Ullyat (1986) and Ros Reef (1995) and Angela Johnston’s Crying Game (1996).
But a close second to Time Frame and arguably one of the most emotional victories of Smith’s career occurred in Broome over a decade later.
After consecutive placings in 2008-2009, Smith’s gelding, Viscount Cameron, charged home from last to win the 2011 Broome Cup.
Viscount Cameron’s triumph was shared by Smith’s husband and devoted ally, Malcolm, who does all track work riding and strapping for the stable.
The popular husband and wife team are stout supporters of WA country racing, regularly appearing at Albany and Mount Barker during the summer, followed by five months chasing the sun in Broome each year.
But in 2011 Malcom was lucky to be alive, let alone be part of any victory celebrations. Three months earlier he was diagnosed with a life threatening illness.
“Malcolm suffered massive brain bleeding and was lucky to be alive,” said Smith.
“Doctors said if he had left it another day he would have been carried out in a box.
“He was starting to feel unwell at home and I sent him to the physio thinking he may have pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve, nothing more than that.
“The physio quickly identified something was far more seriously wrong and he was rushed straight to hospital.
“As you can appreciate everything from there just happened so quickly and it was really quite a stressful period.”
Smith had no thoughts of racing in Broome that season. Her sole focus was dedicated to Malcom’s recovery.
But she did not expect to encounter her husband’s stubbornness and brave persistence.
“He was adamant that we send the horses to Broome as originally planned,” Smith said.
“He argued we had put too much work and effort in to let it pass by.
“He was confident of making a full recovery and joining me in Broome later in the season.
“I had my doubts because it was a serious illness, but he proved me wrong.”
Smith said Malcolm’s fight and determination mirrored Viscount Cameron who returned from a year-long injury layoff to win the Broome Cup.
A spiritual woman, she credited fate playing a major role in the gelding’s victory.
“At Time Frame’s Perth Cup presentation, Malcolm held the trophy aloft and belted out Lee Kernaghan’s song: The Boys From The Bush Are Back In Town,” said Smith.
“That exact same song blared out from the speakers when we were saddling Viscount Cameron ahead of the Broome Cup.
“It was the first time we had heard the song in any shape or form since Malcom had sung it back at the Perth Cup.
“After all the trials and tribulations we had been through as a couple just a couple of months earlier, we felt winning the Broome Cup was just meant to be.”
The 2016 Broome Cup will be staged on Saturday, August 13.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli