Gavin Smith won’t know until the mobile departs if his week’s work with Miracle Rising has been worth it or not.
The talented two-year-old trotter made a mess of things in last week’s Sales Series Final when galloping shortly after the start. It was the first time the son of Muscle Mass had made a mistake and it left Gavin, and his then driver, Kim Butt, a little perplexed.
“It was a bit worrying to see him make a mistake like that, he’s never done anything like it before,” Gavin said.
“Kim did a great job to get him as close to the field as she did watching the video of the race.”
After a head scratching performance like that Gavin decided to explore every possibility and Miracle Rising underwent an extensive veterinary examination during the week.
“The vet has literally been right over him. All his x-rays were good, but we have treated him for a couple of spots where there some reaction of flexion tests.”
The major concern heading into today’s Lone Star Riccarton Sires’ Stakes Championship which is worth $60,000 is fitness, as work hasn’t been high up the pecking order this week.
“I’d rather have him sound than fit, but he seems good, we just haven’t done any work with him this week.
“I won’t know until we leave the gate whether what we have done has worked or not. But even from out there (barrier 9), it’s going to be tough, he’s a good place chance if everything is right.”
It’s another big day for the stable on another big day of racing.
He’s Like The Wind who was fantastic last week fresh up when finishing fifth, will run around for $80,000 in the PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales 3YO Trot Final.
With very quick gate speed, but a strong contingent of Paul Nairn trained runners in the race, Gavin will have to pick and choose his battles.
“He will have improved lengths on where he was at last week and this is a far easier field than what he faced then.
“Having said that, Wilma’s Mate is a very good filly and she’ll be tough to beat.
“I think I’m a good chance, but I’m not sure how I’ll drive him yet, with three from the same stable in one race it will be tricky.
“I have got the option to go out of the gate if I want, he’s very fast.”
Great Things Happen will be out for redemption after narrowly missing last week when he takes on another good field during the middle of the day.
“He will most likely go to the paddock after this run… he should be hard to beat though as the two mile will suit.
“We are giving some nice horses a head start though.”
The highlight of the day however will be a two-pronged attack in the Group One $150,000 The Breeders New Zealand Oaks.
Allison Stokke and Scarlett Banner will fly the Gavin Smith Racing Stables flag in the event and while down the pecking order in terms of favouritism, both are deserving of the chance to be there.
It will also be a special moment for stable junior driver Kim Butt, who drives Allison Stokke, as the Oaks will be her first Group One drive.
“We got the draw we wanted with Allison and are rapt, if she could run Top 6 that would be a huge result.
“Scarlett wasn’t bad last week, the Cornell Collar seemed to work, but we just got too far back.
“This is it for her season as she had a wind operation booked next week.”
Gavin has outside drives today on the talented Sunny Ruby who is readying herself for the Harness Jewels.
Cullect A Guinness will again take on the might of Christen Me in the Winter Cup and Flying Heather resumes for Phil Burrows in the last of the day.
*Meanwhile, He’s Like The Wind may back up tomorrow (Sunday) at Oamaru in a last ditch effort to qualify for the Jewels.
“If he was to win it would take him to the ballot for the Jewels, because Saturday’s race doesn’t count.
“I’ll decide after the race on Saturday whether we are going or not.”
Maiden pacer, Melanie O’Hara will also be in action at Oamaru and Gavin feels she’s no forlorn hope.
“She has just been improving with each run and I was happy with her last week.
“We are up against a couple of smart ones again, but she will be running on and we should pick on up fairly soon.”