Day At The Track

Sam Smolenski delivers for his grandfather

01:20 AM 30 May 2009 NZST
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Sam Smolenski saluted the judge
Sam Smolenski saluted the judge - shortly after winning with Jinja Gal.
Duane Ranger photo

Training legend Fred Fletcher and his junior driver grandson Sam Smolenski kept in the family when they combined their talents to score an upset win with Jinja Gal in the $100,000 Gr 2 Seelite Windows and Doors 2YO Ruby Mobile Trot (1 mile) at Ashburton today.

Driver Smolenski, who was married earlier this year, revealed patience and maturity beyond his years to maximize use of the passing lane and posting a 1:59.75 mile, the leaders' home in 58.3 and 28.8.

Hot favourite The Fiery Ginga, starting from the unruly, was conceding the leaders a big start beginning the second quarter but gradually worked into contention three wide at the straight entrance.

However, the winner had a good horse to follow in Chocolate Brownie who took her far enough down the long and demanding Ashburton straight before she was able to scoot along the passing lane with her telling late charge.

The Fiery Ginga tried his heart out but the winner's much softer trip proved the telling factor over the last 50 metres.

"She is still growing, so she should continue to get better,'' Smolenski said of the winning daughter of top USA sire S J's Photo and Aspiring Gal, a daughter of Sundon who was trained and driven by trainer Fletcher during his distinguished career.

Aspiring Gal is out of Aspiring Lass, the USA bred daughter of Super Bowl mare Roydon Gal whose family produced the wonderful trotter Sunny Action whose 13 wins included the Gr 1 NZ Trotting Free For All.

This source was also responsible for producing Southwind Flanders, winner of the American National Trot at Balmoral in USA, and World Champion Arndon, the sire of Sundon.

Jinja Gal was a splendid third two starts back at Addington on 9 May but her other five starts only produced a last start sixth, a 13th, an 11th, a fifth and a debut seventh.

Tuhimata Glass provided the run of the race in flashing home late wide out for third after galloping early.

Tuhimata Glass had to survive an inquiry into the amount of ground galloped over before the winner was confirmed.


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