Harness racing trainer Sam Smolenski is a newcomer to the training ranks in New Zealand but it hasn't taken him long to chalk up his first training win. Last night in the maiden 1950 mobile trot at Addington Raceway, Sam had two runners and both were well supported in the market. Paris Princess and Gleneleven were both given a big rap by Sam when he spoke to Harnesslink earlier on Friday. Sam thought they were both in the right shape to win if things went their way but found it hard to favour one over the other. As the gate went, Gavin Smith sent Paris Princess forward with purpose but it took him nearly 400 metres to grab the lead from Dragon Sun. Gleneleven in the meantime had gone off stride out wide and took little further part in proceedings. After the early burn, Gavin was able to button off the speed with Paris Princess and got away with a couple of cheap quarters. The warm favourite Cuddly Jess with Jonny Cox in the bike had worked forward to the death seat outside Paris Princess with a lap to travel and it was clear a long way from home that these two would fight out the finish. Paris Princess started to really up the tempo from the 500 metres mark and although Cuddly Jess stayed with her, Paris Princess had her covered in the home straight. Paris Princess trotted the 1950 metres in 2:30.5 with closing sectionals of 60 and 28.8. One group who were more than happy with the result was the TAB who had taken several large four figure bets on Cuddly Jess. Training trotters is a specialized part of harness racing but Sam's mentor Fred Fletcher has long been recognized as one of the best exponents at it in New Zealand and Sam seems set to follow in his footsteps. Harnesslink Media
One of the newest harness racing trainers on the New Zealand scene is Sam Smolenski who to date has only lined up three runners since taking out a trainers license late last season. On Friday night at Addington Raceway, Sam has two runners engaged in the maiden mobile trot over 1950 metres. Paris Princess, to be driven by Gavin Smith has drawn nicely at barrier five and although the form line may look a bit bleak, there is no doubting the ability. The daughter of Diedre Don won a recent trial at Ashburton over 2400 metres in a smart 3:08.9 with terrific closing sectionals of 57.7 and 27.7 and if she was to bring that form to Addington tonight she would be incredibly hard to hold out. Sams other runner is Gleneleven who has drawn barrier seven and is to be driven by Blair Orange. A smart second on debut, Gleneleven looked out of sorts at his next start at Rangiora in the slush last Sunday, breaking early and again in the home straight which ended up in him being disqualified. With the aid of the mobile the son of Monkey Bones rates as a big winning chance tonight. Sam found it hard to separate the pair when speaking to Harnesslink earlier today. " I am expecting a big run from both of them tonight and there is not that much between them at this stage." " Paris Princess will really appreciate the mobile." " She just doesn't concentrate when in standing starts but she will be fine behind the mobile and I would be surprised if she galloped tonight." " Gleneleven had an issue in his neck at Rangiora, getting on one rein the whole way and that is why he broke." " I have had him treated post race and his work this week has been great so I am expecting him to go a big race tonight." "Long term I think Gleneleven will be the better of the two horses and I think he will go a fair way," Sam said. With any kind of luck, Sam looks a big chance to have his first winner as a trainer in race 1 at Addington tonight. Harnesslink Media
One of the more promising trotters recently on the harness racing scene in Canterbury is the Kevin Fairbairn trained Commander Paris. After breaking at his debut, Commander Paris had strung together three second placings which suggested a maiden win was at hand when he lined up in the Robbies Bar and Bistro trot at Addington Raceway tonight. (August 22nd) Away well from barrier 12 in the 2600 meters standing start race, driver John Dunn worked Commander Paris forward towards the lead but took nearly 800 meters to find the front. No sooner had Commander Paris reached the lead with 1800 meters to go than Diedrez Pearl and Sam Smolenski who had followed him through applied the blow torch to the leader. The two of them eyeballed each other for the next round with each quarter being covered in 30 and change and neither driver yielding an inch. As they reached the home corner Commander Paris finally shook off Diedrez Pearl but was instantly challenged by Davey's Gift on his outside and Ethelsville on his inner and just when you thought he would yield, he dug in like a smart horse and held on for a head victory over Davey's Gift with Ethelsville a further head away in third. It was an outstanding win in the circumstances and suggested Commander Paris has a big future in front of him. Commander Paris trotted the 2600 meters from a stand in 3:23.6 with closing sectionals of 60.3 and 29.8 By The Royal Troubador sire CR Commando, Commander In Paris is the fourth foal and the fourth winner from the Safely Kept mare in Paris Metro. The Pearl of Paris ($56,887) Palais Royale ($30,864) and Sundown In Paris ($25,087) have all done a good job to date for Paris Metro and Commander Paris looks capable of adding to that this season They really should show ability at the trotting game as their dam Paris Metro was a quality trotting mare in the early 2000s winning $120,606 on the track. Harnesslink Media
Harness racing reinsman Sam Smolenski has good and bad news for the connections of his arch-rival Blitzthemcalder in the ultimate two-horse race at the Harness Jewels on Saturday.
What a difference a week can make in harness racing. Last week after virtually pulling himself into the ground, Royal Aspirations finished 82.4 metres behind Blitzthemcalder in the Great Northern Trotting Derby.
That man Fred Fletcher has done it again. Thanks to a wonderful drive from his grandson Sam Smolenski Fletcher has claimed yet another Group Two harness racing event.
You know you're talking about a pretty special horse, when the driver tells you he is nowhere near his best after having just won a $75,000 race. That was the case with Royal Aspirations and Sam Smolenski after taking out last night's (Thursday February 28) harness racing feature at Addington, the PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Series Trotters Final.
Today (Friday February 8) the harness racing community mourn the loss of one of the industries greats. John Joseph (Jack) Warren Smolenski sadly passed away last night (Thursday February 7) at Diana Isaac retirement home aged 78 after a series of strokes.
Royal Aspirations not only broke the New Zealand record in today's (Saturday June 2) harness racing Group One $100,000 Mitre 10 Cambridge Ruby for 2yo trotters, he absolutely obliterated it. The Monarchy colt stopped the clock in 1:56.5 - beating Flying Isa's national record of 1:59.3 set last year.
The rocky road to success got a little less bumpy for the connections of Jinja Gal when the former Two Year Old Harness Jewels Ruby winner made her way back into the harness racing winners circle at the Banks Peninsula Trotting Club meeting held today (Sunday November 28).
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.
Aristocratically bred juvenile pacing filly Our Princess Royal gave a true idea of her worth when she impressively sustained front running tactics against those of her age and sex in the $18,000 Magness Benrow Sires Stakes Heat Mobile Pace (1950 metres) at Addington today.
Legendary horseman Jack Smolenski was a proud man as he watched his son Mark and grandson Sam attend to his royally bred filly Our Princess Royal after she won her qualifying trial for two year old fillies at Addington today Wednesday 25 February.
Junior driver Sam Smolenski furthered his successful association with Eastwood Fire when he won the Capex Classic Mobile Pace (2600 metres, mobile) at Addington today Sunday March 9.