Smokin Bandar grows up
by Michael Guerin
Trainer Craig Ferguson thinks the long road trips to Addington have helped Smokin Bandar grow up.
And he will put that theory to test by setting him an even tougher task there next start.
The Wyndham trotter overcame a 20m backmark to win a competitive lower grade trot at Addington on Thursday night, his third win on end.
It was also the six-year-old’s eighth career win and fourth at Addington, which is rare enough for a Southland trotter but also the first time he has won at the iconic track in a standing start race.
“We started taking him to Addington to take advantage of the mobile starts,” says Ferguson, who works a team of 15.
“But I think the travelling has really helped him calm down and mature.
“He used to be tricky from standing starts but he is far more relaxed now and has turned into a lovely horse.”
So much so that Ferguson will bring Smokin Bandar back to Addington in two weeks for a Uncut Gems race in which he will most likely clash with open class trotter Midnight Dash.
“I think he has earned his crack and it is not often we get to race for $40,000.”
Ferguson says the lure of winning at Addington makes the long hours travelling worthwhile.
“Winning at Addington is a big deal for us in Southland but it takes a bit of doing.
“I travelled up with him, stayed at Regan Todd’s the night before so the horse has the whole day to get over the trip and usually I stay the night of the races too.
“But tonight I am driving back to Brad Williamson’s at Oamaru then up early to head home cause we have races at Invercargill tomorrow.”
Smokin Bandar was one of the stars of the night on Thursday, the other two being pacers Serg Blanco and Lumen Caeli.
Lumen Caeli remained unbeaten in three starts when winning a lower grade pace and only being a three-year-old he could be a big mover in that age group for the All Stars as the year continues, albeit with some very serious stablemates of that age well ahead of him in the pecking order.
Serg Blanco flashed home late from a seemingly hope less position to win the night’s main pace, denying favourite Sugar Me what would have been an emotional win right on the line.
It was the second win in his last three starts for Serg Blanco and the son of Bettors Delight looks to have more in store for trainer Paul Kerr.