Smolenski dreaming big with Jeannie
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
As the 2022 season draws to a close, Canterbury horseman Sam Smolenski is already dreaming of what next year holds for his talented trotter I Dream Of Jeannie.
The Pegasus Spur mare had a pleasing five-year-old term, adding four wins to her tally, including the Group 3 Jasmyn’s Gift Fillies And Mares Stakes (2600m), and was runner-up to Resolve in the Group 2 Trotting Mares Handicap Trot (2600m) at Addington Raceway last month.
She will return to the Christchurch track on Friday to take on a quality line-up in the Hagley Windows & Doors Free-For-All (1980m) and Smolenski is hoping for another bold showing after her runner-up effort behind Midnight Dash last week.
“She has been going well and is getting a bit stronger,” Smolenski said.
“She went really well last start. She had to sprint twice, but she has got to toughen up a bit for that top grade and that is why we put her in again this week.”
I Dream Of Jeannie will head for a well-deserved break after Friday and will be set for what Smolenski is hoping to be a lucrative 2023 season.
“She will go for a spell over Christmas for six to eight weeks,” he said.
“I think next season is going to be her year. She has got to step up against the big boys, but she is one of the better mares going around.
“There are a couple of fillies and mares trots. We will target them and just go through the grades and see how far we can go.
“Her main aim will be to have a crack at the Dominion (Gr.1, 3200m) next year because she has got a pretty good record over two miles.”
I Dream Of Jeannie makes up Smolenski’s entire racing team at present, and he said he gets a lot of enjoyment training her on the side of his equine chiropractor business.
“I worked for my grandfather Fred Fletcher for 13 years, he taught me the (chiropractic) ropes,” Smolenski said.
“I now work with thoroughbreds, showjumpers, and polo horses as well. There is a lot of work in Canterbury, so I don’t have to travel too far, it’s a good lifestyle.
“She (I Dream of Jeannie) is my only racehorse. I breed a few and have got a couple of young ones from the Sunny Ruby breed,” he said.
“I breed and sell, and keep a couple to race. It’s more of a hobby for me now.”