A potential Auckland campaign beckons for exciting Gavin Smith Racing Stables pacer Red Moon Rising.
While there’s nothing set in concrete, a bold showing on debut at Methven tomorrow should be enough to convince Gavin to put the three-year-old on a float up North to potentially contest some of the riches on offer over the Auckland Cup carnival.
It’s a bold call, but there’s a fair amount of faith in the ability of the horse and Gavin’s never been one to shy from chucking a horse in the deep end.
“I’ve got a bit of time for him, he’s a pretty nice horse,” he said.
“All going well I think Auckland is a go for him, he can race in a maiden up there before some of those three-year-old races and then we will have a real idea on where we are at.”
But there’s the Methven debut to get through first, although there aren’t too many reservations about that.
“If he’s as good as I think he is, he should go pretty close.
“He’s done everything I’ve asked of him so far and handled it really well so hopefully this will be no different.”
Promising youngster, Lagarto is already in Auckland for the Young Guns Series which kicks off in a fortnight.
While Red Moon Rising will provide the best winning chance of the weekend, there’s three horse at Oamaru to tick off first with Imola, Blade and April Rose all flying the stable flag.
Last start winner Imola will take on a hot field in the feature pacing event of the day and is no forlorn hope.
“It’s going to be pretty hard to beat Alta Orlando and 3000 metres might be right at the end of our stretch.
“We will have to drive him pretty quiet and then hopefully get home over the top of them.
“He’s flying at the moment so it’s a case of trying to make the most of it while we can.”
In a similar boat is Blade. An inch perfect Blair Orange drive got him home last week at Addington and the carrot of a penalty free victory is appealing this week.
Peter Hunter will drive the in-form pacer in a heat of the Brothers In Arms Series which sees six sets of siblings driving against each other in a number of races.
“We are starting to get on top of, and understand, all of his issues I think. He’s pretty close to the met multiplier too so we’ve got something to target there.
“It’s a good field this week, but if he gets the right run he can be right in it I think.”
April Rose, who has been served will need plenty of luck to win from a tricky draw.
Gavin put in a nomination for Great Things Happen for the Auckland trotting features although don’t expect to see him up there.
“It was more just a precautionary nomination. With Monbet not there I would have kicked myself if the nominations were poor.
“In saying that I’m not 100 per cent happy with him yet. He was supposed to be in Australia by now but we will head to the trials during the week and get a better line on where things are at.”