Day At The Track

Smith shines at Nelson

09:35 AM 13 Jun 2016 NZST
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Sara and Gavin Smith with their young daughter
Sara and Gavin Smith with their young daughter
This year's Nelson Winter Cup

The rain kept coming and so did the winners for Kaiapoi based Harness Racing Driver/Trainer Gavin Smith. For the past few days Smith has watched his good mates Robert and John Dunn's team dominate.

The Dunn's picked up trebles at Forbury on Thursday, Nelson on Friday and Auckland on Friday night.

Not to be out done, Smith also picked up a double on the first day of Nelson Harness Racing Club's annual two day winter meeting with his own runner Alison Stokke and the Bruce Hutton trained Ideal Arden.

And by the end on of racing on Sunday, there was only one person people on course were talking about, and that was Smith. After dominating the 9 card meeting with 4 driving win's which included 2 training wins.

Alison Stokke, a 3yo Bettor's Delight filly, put the writing on the wall for Friday's maiden victory with a strong 2nd at Ashburton 5 days earlier.

Making a flying from the tapes, Smith had the filly who is owned by his wife Sara and J Chin, out front and running along nicely before handing up to Sam Ottley and 2nd favourite Glenferrie Classic with 1400m to run.

It all nearly turned to disaster though when Glenferrie Classic galloped in front, causing Alison Stokke to break for several strides before Smith was able to get her back down into a pace.

With the galloper safely negotiated, Gavin asked his charge for a full effort and cleared out to win by 1 ½ lengths over Bobby M (Robbie Close) and Cullen's Bardon (Stephen McNally).

Although it was the drives on Ideal Arden in the Nelson Winter Cup Prelude and Cup that had most people impressed.

Using the American Ideal gelding's stand start speed to lead out on both occasions, Smith then handed up to the Robert Dunn trained Highview Freddy, who is well known as a front runner.

From there on it was just a matter of Smith extracting the Bruce Hutton trained 6yo to either the inside or the outside of the leading and zipping away.

Ideal Arden was the only runner to record a win on both days of the meeting.

Smith started off his Sunday morning with a well deserved win aboard It's How You Use It who is trained by former stable employee Lawrence McCormick.

The 5yo mare by Diedre Don recorded her maiden victory at start number 18 for owners, J T Morrison, A J Morrison, M J Gallagher, A Palmer, Mrs J E Lowe and Lawrence himself.

Smith also recorded wins with pacer Melanie Ohara, who galloped on the first day but thanks to a change in bit was a strong maiden winner.

While He's Like The Wind put up a improved performance after galloping late on day one to record win number three of his career.

Andrew Fitzgerald

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