By Garrick Knight
Smith happy with rejuvenated stable star
Top trotter Great Things Happen is inching closer to a racetrack return.
Trainer Gavin Smith confirmed the son of Love You is in full work and looking the soundest he has been in a long time.
“He’s doing pace work and seems good.
“His hoof is the best it’s been for three-and-a-half years.
“We could be at the trials in a month, all going to plan, but I am in no hurry with him.”
The 2017 New Zealand Trotting Free For All winner, now eight, has been restricted to just 15 starts in the past three seasons as Smith battled soundness issue, predominantly with a hoof.
He was last seen when winning at Addington in February just a week after saluting on the same track.
It’s very much a case of keeping his fingers crossed, but Smith is confident his stable star will be in the mix for all the Spring trotting features in Canterbury.
“I’ll just take it as it comes with him but he doesn’t take a lot of racing to peak, so I don’t have to rush if I’m not happy.”
Passing of Christchurch owner/breeder
The death occurred recently of successful Christchurch breeder and owner, Gaby Maghzal.
Together with his wife, Julie, they bred a host of good horses, including the Group 1 winners, Habibti, Habibti Ivy, Habibi Inta and Ana Malak.
Maghzal, a podiatrist by trade, was born in Lebanon and moved to New Zealand in his mid-20s back in the late 1960s.
After racing a handful of decent horses, including his first winner, Signor Gabrielli (8 wins), and Malak Uswaad (9 wins), he struck gold when acquiring future broodmare gem Ten To One in 2006.
She would have eight foals, three of which won at Group 1 level, another (Releven Dream) was Group 2-placed, while two more, Ten Too and Lothario, were very accomplished as well.
More recently he was breeding from the pacing mare Anna Livia and raced then sold her two final foals, Ana Malak and Ana Afreet, to the Perth stable of Greg and Skye Bond.
His final breeding venture was two Terror To Love foals out of Anna Ivy, a Bettor’s Delight daughter of Anna Livia.
Maghzal, who was 74, died on July 17 after a period of ill health and is survived by his wife Julie and daughters, Sasha and Nadine.