It was his first run for the best part of ten months, but if you didn’t know any better, you would think he never left.
That is the ease in which excitement machine Smolda handled his racetrack resumption in tonight’s $25,000 Rose Dakin Summer Cup at Addington.
After settling back off the hot tempo, co-trainer-driver Mark Purdon pulled the son of Courage Under Fire to the outside of the track on the home bend. He then stylishly raced past Jivin Cullen and stablemate Border Control, who was the favourite for the Group Three event.
Adding to impressive win, was the fact that Smolda paced the 2600 metre journey in 3-10.2, with sizzling sectionals of 55.0 and 27.4
“Good horses can surprise you sometimes, and he certainly did that tonight,” revealed co-trainer-driver Mark Purdon.
“I really wasn’t expecting him to be that forward. Racetrack returns don’t come much better than that,” he enthused.
Purdon said that Smolda was suited by the hot early tempo.
“I didn’t want to make a midrace move seeing as he was fresh-up, so the strong temp really brought us into the race.”
Smolda is now likely to have a private workout at Ashburton, before targeting the Interdomion heat at Addington of February 15, where he will go head-to-head with Cups king Terror To Love.
But, for the meantime, co-owner Phil Kennard is just pleased to have his budding superstar back.
“You don’t realise how much you’ve missed them until they are back. I was up at 8am looking forward to this race.”
Kennard and Purdon fly to Melbourne tomorrow to attend the APG Sale on Sunday.
"We will see if we can find the next Smolda," he quipped.
Meanwhile, champion mare Adore Me made it five wins on end when braining her rivals in the Group One NZ Breeders Stakes.
“Group One victories don’t come much easier than that,” admitted Purdon.
The freakish mare will now head straight into the Ladyship Mile at Menangle on March 3, while stablemate Border Control will have to compete in the Hondo Grattan the week prior in order to try and qualify for the Chariots Of Fire to be run on the same day.
“He was a touch disappointing tonight, but he did race a bit too keenly for the first 800 metres or so, and you probably can’t afford to do that in this company,” said driver Blair Orange.
“I’m sure he will show his true colours in Australia.”
By Mitchell Robertson