Gibbs pair thriving ahead of Palmy

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Levin trainer Murray Gibbs is looking forward to heading to Manawatu Raceway on Tuesday where he will line-up two in-form runners.

Smokinhotcheddar has been a bit of a bridesmaid of late, finishing second in her last two starts at Palmerston North and Gibbs is hoping she can go one better in the Royden Williams Photography Retirement Mobile Pace (2000m).

Gibbs was pleased with her previous two outings and believes she has continued to improve since her run last month.

“In her last handful of starts she has been racing out of her grade,” Gibbs said.

“In those two seconds she chased home five and six-win horses.

“She did it tough, she had to sit outside on both days and showed a good amount of fight.

“I am very pleased with the way she has come through the runs, and I think he has improved.”

The daughter of Betterthancheddar is the only horse in the seven-horse field on the second row, which Gibbs said will make it a little tougher for driver Sam Thornley.

“It is going to be interesting,” Gibbs said. “There are only seven runners now and that will help her. At worst she is going to have to go around six.

“I was pleased with Sam Thornley’s drive on her both times and he is driving her again. I will leave it up to him, he seems to get on with her pretty well.”

Gibbs is enjoying training the four-year-old for owner, fellow trainer Phil Fleming, for whom he did the early education.

“I do pre-training and breaking-in. I broke in Smokinhotcheddar and I do a few horses for Phil Fleming,” Gibbs said.

“I get her to pre-train in-between her campaigns and this time with lockdowns and different things I ended up having her longer than we thought and with Palmy coming up Phil said I might as well kick off her campaign and give her a few starts at Palmy.

“I am really enjoying racing her. I thought a lot of her when I broke her in. She went up to Auckland and won a few up there and went some good races up there. Now to have an opportunity with her myself is great.”

Gibbs will also line-up last start placegetter Manhattan Sunshine in the Haval @ Cartown Mobile Pace (2000m).

“She is a funny mare, she always works well but we have had a few seasonal issues with her which accounts for a lot of her form,” Gibbs said.

“I was very pleased with her last two runs. She has worked on since those runs too.”

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