Gavin Smith goes from the grit to the grass
By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk
After producing an upset winner My Ultimate Chevron at Addington last Thursday night, trainer-driver Gavin Smith takes three starters to the grass at Methven on Monday.
But he’s far from labelling any of them, with question marks over Tom Brady (Race 1), Heaven Helpus in Race 7 and One Over All (Race 8).
“One Over All is as good as anything in that race and is up to winning but it’s 50/50 with him.”
With two wins in seven starts, One Over All has a “good motor”, according to Smith, “though it’s up to his brain to see if he’ll realise his potential.”
His last start was a front-running win at Kaikoura last November.
“He’s not trotting as well as he was and he can throw his toys out of the cot.”
But, and it’s a big but, if he stays trotting Smith reckons he’s a chance in a big open field.
Smith is going for the unconventional to try and turn around another of his trotters Tom Brady.
‘We are hoping he’ll live up to his name.”’
But so far the Muscle Hill four-year-old has been anything but the GOAT
“He is a terribly gaited horse”.
Smith has decided to take the shoes off the horse just like he did in his first start, the abandoned race last Sunday at Rangiora.
“He’s a nice horse but frustrating – I am battling to accept that I can’t fix him,” says Smith.
Heaven Helpus has also presented its challenges.
“She’s a work in progress … she’s not the easiest to drive but she has got a win in her if things go her way.”
She was second on debut at Motukarara on April 5, followed by a seventh a week later at Methven.
One of Smith’s real success stories this season though has been My Ultimate Chevron. The son of Sweet Lou made it two wins from four starts when he beat the highly favoured Hayden Cullen-trained pair of Willow Bay and Bollinger in the Garrards Sires’ Stakes 2YO Colts and Geldings Heat 3 at Addington on Thursday night.
He was last with 350 to go but produced a strong finish, just edging out a fast finishing Willow Bay by a nose.
“I was rapt with him,” says Smith, “he hit the front with 50 to go and was getting tired on the line.”
And there are plenty of big money races to look forward to in the next few weeks, with the $200,000 Harness Million at Addington on May 14, the $150,000 Garrards Sires’ Stakes Final a week later and then the $100,000 Harness Jewels at Cambridge on June 6.
His win at Addington propelled him to fourth on the 2YO Emerald leaderboard behind Montana DJ, Cosmic Major and Classy Operator.