By Duane Ranger
If Smooth Showgirl brings her 'A-Game' then she can win the fourth race at Albion Park on Saturday night - despite copping the widest front row draw.
That's the opinion of Fernvale driver, Adam Sanderson, who gets behind the Ian Gurney trainee at 6.42pm. The former Kiwi reinsman has four nice drives at ‘The Creek’ tomorrow night and he rated Smooth Showgirl the best of them.
“She’s the best horse in the field and my best chance on Saturday. I’ve only got four drives so I’ll be able to really give it my all. They can all get some money too if I do things right,” Sanderson said.
Smooth Showgirl opened a $6 win prospect in the $13,000 Mr Feelgood At Egmont Park Stud Pace for the NR70-90 pacing mares. Seven starters will line up in that 2,138m mobile.
“It all depends what mindset she brings to the race. It’s a big drop back for her, and she has been racing a lot harder fields field than this.
“I know her form doesn’t read that well, but the drop-back gives me a lot of confidence. If she brings her best form then she’s best horse in race. She’s beaten much better fields than this. It will be good to see exactly where’s she’s at. This is a good gauge and test for her. Each-way,” Sanderson said.
Despite her below average form-line, the 7-year-old Art Major mare has won 20 of her 86 starts and placed in 19 others for $319,619 in stakes. She has also placed in two Group 2 events.
Sanderson himself said he had won several Group Two, Three, and Listed events, and also placed in Group Ones since relocating 2,500km from Invercargill in New Zealand’s deep south to the Sunshine State in 2013.
He drove 67 winners, 139 place-getters and banked $426,734 stakes in five-and-a-bit seasons in his homeland.
"I think I've driven more than 700 career winners all-up. I'm not exactly sure because I'm not too big on stats. I just look at each meeting as it comes, and on Saturday I want four winners," Sanderson said.
“I’ve been getting drives for Grant Dixon lately and that’s been a real bonus. He’s not the leading trainer in Australia for nothing and its an honour to drive for him,” the 30-year-old former Southland Boys student added.
In fact two of Sanderson’s four drives tomorrow are for Dixon. Here’s what he had to say about his three other steers (with trainer, draw and opening odds):
Race 7: The Grant Dixon trained ALLELUIA (2) $5.50 - "He’s been flying and racing well behind some really nice horses in the recent Winter Carnival, where he didn’t disgrace himself. It’s good to see he’s still going around while some of the guns are spelling. He has the good draw and with an ounce of luck he can be right in it. I’ll play it by ear at the start but he can do some work if I ask him to. He grows a leg when in front. If I can get there he will take some beating.”
Race 8: The Jarrod Alchin trained OUR ULTIMATE HANNA (2) $9 – "I don’t know too much about her, but I see she did win well at Redcliffe last week, and from the good draw she’s a real live show in this. Her form in Sydney also reads well. The two-draw says she’s a chance.”
Race 9: The Grant Dixon trained HELLBOUND (3) $16 – "He’s usually pretty safe from stand and he went good last week. If he can get a cheque again on Saturday I’ll be rapt, but he’s going to find it tough against some of the classy free-for-all trotters starting from a handicap. Because of his good manners I think he should step to the lead and hopefully take a trail like he did last week, but I think the back-markers might be a bit too classy here. I’d be rapt if he could run in three again.”