Chasing Group One Glory

A patient approach with his drives in two of the big features at a bumper night of racing at Addington tonight should help Gavin Smith net the best possible results in both cases.

Gavin will take a dual-role approach to the meeting with drive’s in two of the night’s three Group One events including his own runner, Di’z Luck in the $80,000 Racing 4 Jonty Paintlab New Zealand Trotting Derby.

A tidy fifth in last week’s New Zealand Trotting Oaks, Di’z Luck is the only filly in the race and while the might and power of a horse like Enghien may appear intimidating, for Gavin it’s a great opportunity for himself, the horse and her owners.

“You don’t often get the chance to race for that sort of money with a trotter,” he said.

“So we are there to have a crack, it’s a big task for her but we drive her quiet anyway so it shouldn’t be any harder than what it has to be at the end of the day. “

The reigning Two-year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year has continued her bad run of luck with the barrier draws in big races though being handed eight marble in the 2600 metre event.

“That seems to be her thing at the moment, a big race comes along and she draws bad.

“She is probably better over the shorter trips, but she also thrives on racing so hopefully she can go a great race for her owners.”

Gavin’s second Group One Assignment comes in the $200,000 Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Pacing Derby where he drives Gotta Go Ya Hu for the Robert Dunn stable.

“It’s an honour to get the chance to drive him in the Derby,” he said.

“I thought he was super last week. Look, he probably can’t beat the really good ones unless a few things go wrong for them but he does have potent speed and we will be sitting in the wings ready to pounce if the stars do align for him.”

Gotta Go Ya Hu will start from the middle of the front line with leading chances Vincent and Raukapuka Ruler on either side of him.

Gavin’s other engagement for the night comes in the first race when Allison Stokke makes her resumption.

Trained by Gavin, the former New Zealand record holder is coming in fresh after a slight set back but jumps into a nice race for her.

“We were ready to go about six weeks ago with her, but she had a bit of a set back.

“I wasn’t going to start her but did just in case the field wasn’t that strong and for $20,000 it’s not.

“Naturally she will improve with the run, but she won’t be far away from them I wouldn’t think.”

Tonight is the precursor to a big Sunday for Gavin where he has eight drives at the Rangiora meeting including three runners from his own stable in debutants Art Banker and Quaestor and also All Settled Down.

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