Prairie nabs maiden victory

– Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Prairie has been knocking on the door for some time and he finally secured his maiden win at Addington Raceway on Sunday.

The Gavin Smith-trained and driven three-year-old had finished runner-up in four of his previous five career starts and his connections were relieved to finally get on the board with the son of American Ideal.

“He just kept running into nice horses,” Smith said. “All the horses who have beaten him have been pretty progressive types.

“When he struck an easier field he was always going to be hard to beat.”

Prairie began well from his wide draw and took an early lead for Smith where the pair remained throughout, winning by a half-head over Boom, with a further half-head back to Harrison in third.

“He is very laidback so he is actually better following them, but when you are a $2 favourite and jump away you have got to use your advantage,” Smith said.

“He waited for them today and halfway down (the straight) you swear he was going to get beaten, but once they got around the edge of his blinds and he could see them he lifted enough to hold them off.

“He is a lot better coming off their backs, he is very classy.”

While pleased to finally get a win with his promising pacer, Smith said Prairie’s future will likely be in Australia.

“There were a few offers for him beforehand, so if we can get it done we will look at going down that avenue now that the owners have got a win,” Smith said.

“It will probably be Western Australia, they love the American Ideals.

“He is good value, he is small, and has got speed. That was one of the things in the back of my mind when I bought him at the yearling sales. He was only cheap at $10,000. They (Western Australian trainers) like the small American Ideals if they are fast.”

Smith currently has 20 other horses in work, mostly young stock, and there are half a dozen juvenile trotters that are exciting him.

“There are a few young trotters that are all showing a lot of promise, but they can change a lot in a short space of time,” he said.

“There are half a dozen that are showing a lot, surely between them one will step up and do the job.” 

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