Smith to continue hot form
By Jonny Turner
Canterbury reinsman Gavin Smith is set to continue his hot driving form on the final day of the West Coast Christmas circuit at Reefton on Monday.
Smith notched a winning double on the first day of racing at Westport, before scoring a treble two days later at the same track.
The quality of his book of drives at Reefton means he is almost certain to rack up more wins before the three-day meeting is over.
None of Smith’s wins have been as emphatic as Bush Man’s win by nearly 15 lengths at Westport on Saturday.
The reinsman said the victory was a case of him driving to suit both his horse and the Westport track when he let Bush Man establish a big lead in the final lap.
“He doesn’t have much speed and on tracks like Addington you do that and you get run down.”
“Over here, they are tight turning tracks and once you put a bit of stay in to them and beat the horse outside you the rest of the field gets held up and the margin flatters you a bit.”
There will be no changing of tactics when Smith drives Bush Man for trainer Trent Yesberg in race 5 on Monday.
“He has got a bit of gate speed, he should roll across again and do the same again and he should be hard to beat again.”
Smith could be in line for a bonus win of sorts when his stable’s galloping pacemaker lines up in race 9.
God Only Knows starts in the 2000m standing start event after his good second behind Miss Daytona on Saturday.
“He is a pretty well rated horse,” Smith said.
“He loves his stands on the grass.”
“He has got to be pretty hard to beat if he finds the front.”
Smith also starts Scrappylittlenobody from his own stable in race 10 after she lived up to her name with a hard fighting win on the first day at Westport.
The trainer-driver has added blinds to the trotter’s gear ahead of Monday’s race because he feels the 3yr-old is capable of better.
“She is probably a little better than what she went.”
“Once she goes home and has a break and comes back – she is quite a smart horse.”
Smith drives Garry’s Legacy for trainer Craig Kennedy in race 7 after the horse’s indifferent run for fifth behind Tombellina on Saturday.
The pacer switched off badly after working hard to find the lead, then battled in to fifth placing.
Smith gave a harsh assessment of his drive and expects the horse to do better on Monday.
“I didn’t think I would get had on in front as much as I did, then he just switched off at the winning post.”
“I didn’t want to go to war again, I had already asked a bit much of him.”
“All three that were involved in the early burn battled and it was one of the only races where they came from the back.”
Smith is expecting Budvar Eyre to be on his best behaviour in race 2.
The horse got stirred up in his preliminary on day one at Westport.
Smith made adjustments to his warm-up on day two and it produced a good second placing.
The driver said he is expecting more of the same on Monday.
Smith drives Just Holla for trainer Jack Harrington in the feature race at Reefton, the Reefton Cup.
The pacer has a 20m advantage over favourite Tiger Tara, who ran second in the Westport Cup before winning at Westport on Saturday.
Just Holla is shooting for a hat-trick of wins after winning his last two starts.
Smith also drives Goose Healy in race 1 and Maggie in race 4 at Reefton on Monday.