Trainer-driver Gavin Smith turned around a quiet Christmas-New Year run when winning Tuesday’s feature trot at Oamaru.
Smith’s team had been luckless through the festive period and the trainer went in to the meeting without having notched a winner since Cabazon Victory’s win at Forbury Park in early December.
Smith’s bad run of fortune continued when he was tipped from the sulky from Miss Pinocchio, who was the favourite for race 3.
“She began really well, but the horse beside me caught my wheel and tipped me out,” he said.
Five races later, Smith’s fortunes changed when Red Hot Rocket took out the feature 2600m handicap.
“I haven’t been able to buy a win up until now, hopefully that is the start of some good luck,” he said.
Red Hot Rocket was sent out at $17 odds after failing in three starts on the recent West Coast Christmas circuit.
Smith put the performances down to the 8yr-old not handling the Westport and Reefton tracks.
“He didn’t go any good on the coast because he didn’t handle the tight turning tracks.
“He also had sore feet when he came home, which may have been because he raced three times in a short space of time on those firm tracks.”
Red Hot Rocket’s form before his West Coast venture was a pointer to the horse being hard to beat on Tuesday.
“He beat quite a strong field at Addington before he went to the coast; they were nice trotters.
“And before that he flew home in to fourth at Rangiora when he couldn’t get a run.”
Smith considers Red Hot Rocket lightly raced for his age.
Tuesday’s win was his fourth career win and came in his 31st start.
Red Hot Rocket’s owners have shown patience with him as he is by noted sire of late-bloomers, Armbro Invasion.
“Though he is eight years’ old he has probably only had the amount of racing of a four-year-old.”
“Because he is by Armbro Invasion his owners have been patient with him.”
Where Red Hot Rocket could line up next is unknown.
The trotter could be put on the market ahead of the upcoming yearling sales.
- NZ Harness News