By Duane Ranger
Gavin Smith said he would have never brought Great Things Happen back to New Zealand if he didn’t think he could win the ANZAC and Rowe Cups.
The Love You-Calamity Gal gelding arrived in Auckland on Thursday and was then floated to Robert Dunn’s stable at Pukekohe.
Smith was due to fly up early this afternoon to drive the five-year-old bay in Friday’s Group One $100,000 ANZAC Cup at Alexandra Park.
“The original plan was to spell him back here (Kaiapoi) and then get him ready for the Dominion in November, but when I saw that some of the good ones like Monbet, Speeding Spur and Master Lavros weren’t lining up I thought these two Group Ones were well within his grasp,” Smith said.
The North Canterbury trainer/driver said the plan all along was to ease Great Things Happen into the open class trotting ranks with easier assignments in Australia.
“He’s had seven races over there with Greg Sugars and won four of them. Greg has done a good job. I’m really looking forward to his next two Alexandra Park starts.
“He’s racing well and it would be a dream to train and drive the winner of an ANZAC Cup or Rowe Cup. I’ve always loved trotters and the Dominion and Rowe Cup have always been high on my bucket list,” said Smith.
Great Things Happen goes into Friday’s 2200m Free-For-All with an easy 12-metre victory in last Sunday’s Group Three $20,000 Warragul Trotters Cup. He was the $1.50 hot favourite and drew seven of nine in that 2,627m stand.
He has drawn 10 on Friday.
“It’s not the draw I wanted. If they can hold up it would be a nice draw, but he’s a free-going trotter who likes to bowl along. I don’t think Alexandra Park will be a problem because he has raced there before,” said Smith.
“I wouldn’t be lining him up if I didn’t think he could win on both nights,” he stressed.
Great Things Happen has had one race at ‘The Park’ for a two-length third behind Quite A Moment (Ricky May) and Bordeaux (Dexter Dunn) in the Group One $80,000 National Trot last New Year’s Eve. He has also won twice from three starts over the 2200m mobile.
Great Things Happen has had 11 wins from his 24 career starts and placed in five others for $107,597 in stakes. He has won his last two Australian races and on February 23 he nailed the Group Three $25,000 Tontine Trotting Championship from 40m behind.
His National Trot placing is his best New Zealand performance in a Group race so far.
“He’s a very exciting trotter and is probably a couple of months away from footing it with the absolute top-liners. The ANZAC and Rowe Cups were never part of his plan until the guns withdrew.
“This time next year I expect him to be right up there with the best trotters in New Zealand and Australia. After next Friday’s Rowe Cup, I will take him home to the spelling paddock,” Smith said.
The first three runners in the ANZAC Cup will be guaranteed a start in the Group One $150,000 Rowe Cup on Friday week (April 28).
Great Things Happen is owned by Ted Edwards and Sara Smith. Edwards also bred him with Gary Edwards.
Approved By Dean Baring www.harnessbred.com
Driving The Future Of Harness Racing