Victory at Timaru yesterday, has put on hold a likely change in career path for Scarlett Banner.
The Gavin Smith Racing Stables trained mare went to the Saturday afternoon meeting at Timaru and her trainer and driver had absolutely no idea what to expect.
She’s been disappointing a week earlier. So much so, that Gavin had begun to entertain the idea of trying the mare as a trotter.
“That was going to to be the Sunday project with her,” he said.
“I had absolutely no idea what she would do to be honest, I told her owner that she’s probably either win or go horrible, luckily though it was the first option.”
Racing well down in grade from some of her recent opponents, Scarlett Banner was able to bully her rivals into submission after sitting parked.
It looked like second was to be her lot when Ellmers Image burst through the gap at the top of the straight, but in a show of true tenacity, Scarlett Banner held off the charge to claim the win.
“She’s tough, but probably not that genuine all the time.
“We had to show a bit out there today and she kept giving.”
Gavin has never been shy to through the mare into the deep end against older, more experienced and far more successful horses and after racing the likes of Chase Auckland, Dore Delight and Delishka in some of her recent performances, she clearly relished the drop in grade.
Her 22 start career has now netted three wins and as many placings with close to $50,000 in earnings for her hoard of owners.
And what about the trotting business?
“She can definitely trot, I had her on the lead one day and she trotted a bit of time,” Gavin said.
“So there’s potential there for the future for sure.”
The win of Scarlett Banner took the stable to seven winners for the season, which coupled with 13 placings has the strike-rate sitting impressively high.
Things are well on track to reach the 15 wins of last season with a good team of horses in action.
Gavin’s record in the sulky is almost as strong with 14 wins and 27 placings from 98 drives which has him well inside the top 10 on the national premiership