Bad draws may have lessened the chances on a Premier night of harness racing at Addington, but where there’s hope there’s still possibility for the Gavin Smith Racing Stables team tonight.
Both Great Things Happen and Red Moon Rising are the worst served by the barrier draw gods tonight and in Gavin’s eyes, the second line draw almost stops the Dominion Handicap bound, Great Things Happen from being a realistic winning hope fresh up.
“It’s a tough draw for him as he will probably settle too far back,” Gavin said.
“He’s not forward enough yet to go around them first up and not fast enough to come from too far off the pace.
“So we are relying on a lot of luck.”
A stunning trial winner at Rangiora last week, the big son of Love You is one of the forgotten stars of the open class ranks it would seem and a couple of tidy performances ahead of Cup Week will see him reinstated as one of our more promising trotters.
Last week’s winner, Red Moon Rising will have to start from the inside of the second row in the final race of the night.
“He is good enough if the racing gods give him a run.
“”It’s a cruel blow and we probably can’t win now because we will be giving both the Purdon and Rasmussen horses a start turning in while we look to clear traffic.”
After a brave effort for fourth last week in behind the extremely gifted, Chase Auckland - Scarlett Banner looks a prime each way prospect in the fillies and mares event from a handy enough front line draw.
Gavin harboured some concerns earlier in the week after she took a while to recover from the run, but things have picked up as the week has progressed.
With her gate speed she should be able to inject herself into the race and looks one of the better place bets of the night.
“She did get a little bit flattened by last week’s run, but she’s started to pick up again.
“She can go forward and hopefully get a good run handy to the speed which will make her an each way hope.”
The stable’s chances tonight also include New Zealand Trotting Cup nominee, Imola.
A strong performance in the Hannon Memorial at his last start puts him in a good position to be a major player in a lower grade event this week - provided he brings his manners.
“If he steps, I think he can win,” Gavin said.
“I thought we had him in a far happier place, but on Wednesday he was naughty so in all honesty we are only a 50/50 chance to step away.”
As well as four of his own, Gavin has three strong outside drives tonight which also gives him an opportunity to extend on his excellent start to the season in the sulky.
From 51 drives, Gavin has driven 10 winners and finished in a minor placing on a further 15 occasions, giving him a solid strike-rate two months in.
He picks up the Sires’ Stakes heat drive on the Nigel McGrath trained Sheriff tonight.
A winner in his only start as a two-year-old, the pacer is held in high regard and the scratching of hot-pot Chase Auckland and a good draw gives the pair a chance to be a part of the action.
Bite The Bullett and Medusa who both went very well at their most recent starts also have Gavin’s services and are strong each way hopes.