Day At The Track

Smith ready for Waimate today

10:00 AM 22 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Gavin Smith,Harness racing
Gavin Smith
HRNZ photo

by Jonny Turner  

Rocknroll King will attempt to take his game to the mainland in today’s Waimate Cup.

The Robert Dunn trained pacer headed west to show off his staying prowess to win the 3200m Inangahua-Grey Valley Cup in his last start at Reefton.

The 4yr-old will step back in distance and head south in an attempt to make it back to back cup wins in today’s 2600m handicap.

Driver Gavin Smith can not see why Rocknroll King can not go another great race.

“He went really good on the coast, this race is a wee bit harder, but not a lot harder.”

“He won with a wee bit in reserve over there [Reefton], so if he got a reasonable run he would be right in it again.”

Rocknroll King starts on the 10m mark alongside fellow recent grass track winners One Direction and Shadow Minister.

Both Vulcan Star and Gilligan’s Island will attempt to complete hat-tricks of wins from the front line.

The favourite, Bettathanfast, will start from the 30m following his big performance to run second to Stars Tonight in his last start at Addington after sitting parked throughout.

Bettathanfast was the $5.50 favourite, ahead of Rocknroll King ($6), when the Waimate Cup fixed odds market opened last night.

Smith lines up two trial winning first starters from his stable at today’s meeting.

Kiwi X Factor comes in to his 2000m standing start assignment after stretching out to win his by four lengths at the Rangiora trials.

The 3yr-old has the motor to make an impact on race 4, but is yet to fully develop his racing game.

“He is going to be a nice horse, but he can’t be hustled up too much yet, he needs to be looked after,” Smith said.

“But he is going to be a lot better than a maiden.”

“He is not one of mine that will just jump to the front, he will have to be handled a little bit quieter.”

Kiwi X Factor has been rated the $5.50 third favourite by bookmakers behind equal favourites, Lizzie Richter and Uber Express ($4.80).

Smith will start his 2yr-old, Helluva, against older horses over 1700m in race 5.

The trainer-driver has high hopes for the pacer later this season.

“He goes really good and if he keeps improving he could be up with the better 2yr-olds later.”

“But, he is still a bit soft, mentally.”

“That is why we have gone with an easy option first up.”

“He can do a bit wrong, he is not hardened and he is not a racehorse yet, either.”

Helluva has been rated a $7 chance by bookmakers.

Mossman, who galloped in tight quarters and was pulled up in his last start at Addington, headed the market for race 5 at $4.

Smith also starts Amulet from his stable in race 6.

The trotter has the ability to win the race, but needs to show it today.

“She has the ability, but has been very frustrating.”

Smith also drives Atarah in race 3 and Don’t Look Back in race 11.

Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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