Manners are pacer’s X-factor
By Jonny Turner
Kiwi X Factor has the manners to put himself exactly where he needs to be in Sunday’s Akaroa Cup.
After saluting with Brother Love at Addington on Saturday night, driver and part-owner Gavin Smith will attempt to continue his winning form with the Bob Butt trained four-year-old in the Motukarara feature.
Kiwi X Factor led early from barrier 1 before running a tidy fifth in his last start at Geraldine and the pacer starts from the same position again on Sunday.
But the key difference is he has the benefit of that last run under his belt.
“He hadn’t had a race for a wee while last week and he was probably a little bit suspect first up on a wet grass track like that,” Smith said.
“With a run under his belt, he should be a lot better.”
“He went good last week, he made up a bit of ground and he burnt a bit early.”
“His manners make him a chance wherever he goes.”
Kiwi X Factor has an outstanding record on grass with three wins and three placings from 10 starts.
But he’s not the only one.
From Corravally Star to Gilligans Island and Got You Covered, the Akaroa Cup is stacked with brilliant grass track performers.
Lulu Le Mans and Riveered are the only two horses in the field not to have won on turf.
Riveered has only had one start on grass and it was a good one.
The pacer beat home Kiwi X Factor in a strong performance on a testing track at Orari last weekend.
Smith also combines with Regal Appointment, who like Kiwi X Factor has great standing start manners.
The trotter hasn’t fared as well in the barrier draws though, copping a second-row alley (13) in race 6.
“The second row is horrendous for his chances,” Smith said.
“He and Kiwi X Factor are both grouse horses, they both just about lead every start and they’re great to drive.”
“Regal Appointment likes the short races, the 2170m is right up his alley.”
“It is just unfortunate that the second line will make it a hell of a lot harder.”
Smith drives Millwood Indie in race 5 after she took on a hot field of fillies in her last start at Addington.
Smith didn’t drive the Phil Burrows filly in her last outing but he expected to see much more from her on the race replay.
“I watched the video a couple of times and she was pretty disappointing.”
“I am not saying she is better than those fillies but she is up with them.”
“She went a good race at Ashburton against them and ran fourth in and around some pretty handy ones.”
“She should probably lead here and be hard to beat.”
“The one to beat (Chambray) is drawn on the second line and we should get a head start on her.”
“She would be my best drive on Sunday.”
Smith also combines with Fly Like A Falcon who looks a decent top 4 chance in race 3.
The trainer-driver is hoping a change of tactics with Classey Robin – holding the mare up early – will help her produce a more consistent effort in race 10.
The four-year-old has had her hoof in the till in two of her last four starts but has produced head-scratching runs in between each of those performances.