Winning duo under offer
There’s an air of uncertainty around just how long both of Gavin Smith Racing Stable’s winners from last weekend will remain in the stable, with both horses under offer.
The stable stretched its win tally for the season to 28 from just 175 starters with victories by Chuck Norris and Oona over the weekend, getting closer to Gavin’s best figure of 36.
But both horses could be lost to the stable in the near future with offers being put down for each of them, Gavin confirmed on Monday.
Chuck Norris kicked things off in stylish fashion by surprising everyone, Gavin included, with his victory over the highly touted Hall Of Fame at Addington on Friday night.
“I didn’t really know what to expect from him to be honest,” Gavin said.
“He’d been that crook since Nelson that the run was more just to get a line on where he was at. But coming off the back he travelled up on the bit really well.
“Bob’s (Bob Butt, trainer and driver of Hall Of Fame) horse never really kicked clear on us but even when I came out I was still worried that we had gone to early and his condition would kick in.
“But he found the line really strongly, it was a pleasant surprise.”
A Shark Gesture three-year-old gelding, Chuck Norris is the first foal of the ill-fated Bree Van De Kamp who won once for the stable when on debut back 2010.
Owned by Gavin’s wife, Sara, Chuck Norris has now won two of his seven career starts - placing second in another effort.
Oona’s victory on Sunday at Rangiora wasn’t as much of a surprise as her victory the week earlier at Addington.
The Trevor Casey owned three-year-old filly was sent to Gavin earlier in the season after beginning her career with Colin and Julie DeFilippi.
In her first few starts for the stable she failed to flatter, making mistakes at crucial times during her races.
But some patience from Gavin and the team at the stables has seen a notable improvement in the daughter of The Pres and she’s been impressive winning her last two starts.
Gavin wasn’t giving himself too much credit for the change in luck for Oona though.
“Maybe she was going through a bit of a flat patch, I’m not sure.
“She had jarred up a bit so we changed her shoeing around and maybe that with the change of scenery has helped.
“Early on at Colin and Julie’s she looked pretty good so maybe she is just coming right.”
With strong bloodlines, Oona’s potential as a broodmare is quite strong, especially now she is a multiple race winner.
Out of the very good racemare, A Touch Of Sun, she’s a half sister to dual Harness Jewels winner, King Denny as well as in form Waikato trotter, Sarah Lindenny who has done a great job for David Marshall this season.
Gavin was also smiling on Sunday after the effort for third of Imola who turned around some ordinary form to produce a good effort behind Order Online.
Not smiling so much after the same race was stable junior driver, Kim Butt who was sent crashing to the track after her drive, Melanie O’Hara became involved in a nasty smash after a horse in front of her stumbled and fell to the track.
There was initial concern for Kim after her helmet broke free on impact but she was able to walk away from the incident relatively unscathed, suffering just minor bumps and bruises.