Draw to help Smokin Bandar
By Jonny Turner
Following out a mobile flyer has trainer-driver Craig Ferguson hopeful Smokin Bandar can put his feet in the right spots at Addington on Friday.
The five-year-old comes into race 5 following his eye-catching run for third after what looked to be race-ending gallop at the same track last week.
A veteran of just eight starts, inexperience cost the grey trotter when he wanted to go too fast when the mobile gate left.
“He just got a bit keen up on the gate,” Ferguson said.
“It was only his second mobile and in the first one I went forward on him.”
“He probably just wanted to go before it was time.”
“He should be better suited on Friday because he has drawn the second row.”
Driver Sheree Tomlinson took inside runs with Smokin Bandar, who then held his nerve when manoeuvring around tiring runners before completing a massive comeback to run third.
“It was quite a pleasing run apart from the gallop last week,” Ferguson said.
“He probably should have been no chance with all the ground he had lost.”
“Sheree was really happy with the way he kept trying right to the line.”
Smokin Bandar starts from barrier 3 on the second line with Ferguson back in the sulky on Friday afternoon.
The reinsman is hopeful that draw can help his trotter make a much better beginning this week.
“It looks like we should get a roll through without having to grab on to him too much or anything like that.”
“It could work out alright, I thought.”
In race 9, Friday’s free-for-all trot, Ferguson will catch-drive Dark Horse for trainer Nathan Williamson.
The eight-year-old steps back up to racing open class trotters in the 1980m mobile after dealing to a lesser field in her last start at Invercargill.
Williamson has reported to Ferguson that all is well with his mare heading into the race.
“He is pretty happy with her, she is going pretty well and he is pretty happy with where she is at.”
Drawing barrier 4 on the second row will not make life easy for Dark Horse when she clashes with Majestic Lavros, Heavyweight Hero and her other smart rivals.
But, Ferguson is hopeful her high speed can help her make up for that draw.
“It is a tough field but she has got that high speed that she can sit back and have one last crack at them.”
Both Majestic Lavros and Heavyweight Hero will be out to redeem themselves after galloping out of last weekend’s Trotters’ Green Mile won by The Dominator, who also starts in race 9.
Majestic Lavros opened the $2.50 fixed odds favourite for the event, with Dark Horse at $10.
Friday afternoon sees a rematch between the trifecta makers in last weekend’s Pacers’ Green Mile at Methven.
After drawing between Henry Hubert and Classie Brigade at Methven, the Mark Jones trained Stylish Memphis will crucially start inside the Robert Dunn trained pairing in race 7.
Driver Ricky May is hopeful the four-year-old can take advantage of her barrier 4 starting spot in her 1980m assignment.
“She was super at Methven, we were really happy with her.”
“She has got an advantage over the other two this week.”
Stylish Memphis opened at a $3.60 opening price in fixed odds betting behind Classie Brigade ($1.90) and in front of Henry Hubert ($4.80).