Smokin Bandar books Aussie trip with impressive win

By Jonny Turner

Max Hill notched his first win at Addington in style with his calm and collected steer behind Smokin Bandar.

Hill was tasked with giving the trotter a vital hit-out which would a deciding factor in whether the grey trotter headed across the Tasman to the Brisbane Winter Carnival.

It was mission complete for both Hill and Smokin Bandar when they cleared out from the field in race 5.

And in the process the junior driver enjoyed one of the thrills of his career.

“He would have to be up there with the best horses I have driven,” Hill said.

“It was unreal.”

“I have had a few cracks at it (winning at Addington) and it is great to be able to do it.”

Bookies put up $1.70 for Smokin Bandar which proved far too tempting for punters who backed the trotter into red hot $1.25 odds.

Though those who backed Smokin Bandar got a trouble-free ride, the betting move did little for Hill’s pre-race nerves.

“When we were circling around, I looked up at the board and saw he had come right in.”

“I thought geez.”

“But I just had to focus on the job in front of us.”

Hill took no chances with Smokin Bandar, settling third before easing off the markers to sit parked inside the last lap.

Approaching the turn it was clear the grey was going to bolt in and he did exactly that.

“He has got a bit of class about him and he showed that tonight.”

“He is a good horse, he is right up with them and he was one of the favourites for the Dominion last year.”

Thursday night’s win was Hill’s second in trainer Craig Ferguson’s colours after moving to work at the trainer’s Wyndham barn.

The junior driver will also link up Heez Good for Ferguson at Ascot Park on Monday.

“It has been great, we have got two horses in this week and I am driving both of them, so I am pretty lucky really.”

Thursday night’s feature pace was taken out by the in-form Artatac.

The Mark Jones trained pacer backed up his win in the Timaru Winter Cup when fighting hard to edge out the favourite Donmaro.

Jones and driver Gemma Jones completed a double for the night when Lizzie Richter took out the last.

Carter Dalgety did one better with three wins, with Evangalist, Fernetti and Watermelon Sugar.

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