NZ HARNESS NEWS
Gavin Smith will be training from Belmont Lodge adjacent to the Rangiora racecourse from the beginning of next month.
Smith has for the last two-and-a-half years been at Dancingonmoonlight Farm at Ohoka, the showpiece property owned by his father-in-law Robert Famularo.
But that situation hasn’t been ideal due to the multi-purpose nature of the farm.
Smith can see greater benefits being based at Belmont Lodge, which is directly behind the stables at Rangiora.
“Belmont Lodge was set up as a satellite stable for Te Akau and their trainer Mark Walker when they had gallopers racing in Canterbury, with Gus Clutterbuck based there,” said Smith.
“So it’s a very nice property with good paddocks, spacious boxes and a covered water walker.
“I’m also leasing the vacant barn at the Rangiora track where I’ll do the babies and that’ll have the effect of sort of having them quarantined from the racing team, which is another bonus.”
Smith can recall having his best racing team ever back in February and he was looking forward to winning 20-plus races in the ensuing months.
“But then we got the yearlings home from the sales and the whole team got sick with coughs and colds and we didn’t win another race until May.
“It was good having the nice big barn at Dancingonmoonlight but that had its downside too.”
Smith began training on his own account 10 years ago from Ken Odgers’ property at Rangiora before buying his own farm at Lethfield Beach near Balcairn and then moving to Dancingonmoonlight after he married Famularo’s daughter Sarah.
There is no house at Belmont Lodge but Smith was always going to remain in their home near Dancingonmoonlight anyway so Sarah can continue her stud work there. It is just 10 minutes from their home to Rangiora.
Smith has recorded 183 training wins with his best season of 36 coming in 2012, although his best season stakes-wise was in 2016.
That season he trained and drove Tangos Delight to win the Premier Mares Championship over Democrat Party and Rocker Band, while Chuck Norris, Scarlet Banner and the trotters Great Things Happen, Di’z Luck, He’s Like The Wind, October Rain, Oona and Miracle Rising were also good performers for him.
Smith has a good team again coming on stream this season.
Red Moon Rising resumed with a winning run at the Rangiora workouts this week and is headed towards the junior driver’s race at Addington next week.
“He’ll be a little out of his class there but it’s a preferential draw and a free win and he’ll be in that class before long anyway.”
Smith started the promising Artsplace entire in July but he wasn’t right then and he is much happier with him now.
His best 3-year-old prospect in Bright Diamond is a fortnight away from trialling and stable star Great Things Happen won’t be far behind him.
“Great Things Happen is just about good to go but he’s had a wee foot issue lately and I’ll know a lot more when he’s shod in a day or two.
“It might be tight making the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup but he’ll definitely be ready for Ashburton on Labour Day.”
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