Smokin Bird was super impressive when winning her debut at Forbury Park on Thursday. However, the win was tinged with sadness.
It was Kevin and Pat Court’s first since losing their son Ryan (35), a keen horseman, in an incident at Craft Bar in The Octagon of Dunedin in April. Ryan broke in the very impressive Bettor’s Delight two-year-old filly and played a major role in the training of all of his father’s horses.
Ryan Court was described as being a "Rough Diamond who didn't have a bad bone in his entire body."
Tragically, the Court’s also lost their other son, aged 25, in 2009.
Court, who generally gets his horse up and running before selling them, is likely to retain Smokin Bird to give him and his wife something to enjoy
Matthew Williamson, who drove Smokin Bird to victory, was full of praise for her trainer.
“Kevin (Court) is a very good trainer who knows how to get the young ones up and running and his horses are always well mannered,” said Williamson. “This filly is no different and I think she has a very bright future,” he added.
“I’m just stoked he has got another nice horse to enjoy after the terrible cards he and his family have been dealt over the past few years.”
Smokin Bird’s 3 and ¾ length debut win followed two very impressive trail wins including one where she came her last half in 57.2 on a slushy track.
She is a half-sister to two impressive winners including Who’s Escape (11 wins) and a full-sister to Slick Bird, who Court sold for big money to leading Perth trainer Gary Hall Snr. She has won 10 races to date and finished third in the Group One WA Oaks in 2011.
By Mitchell Robertson