By Duane Ranger
Redcliffe trainer Donny Smith likes all five of his pacers on his home track tomorrow (Saturday) night, but believes the one that has drawn the closest to the markers, is his best winning chance on the tight-turning 800-metre triangle track.
The 59-year-old horseman said both Troublesome Dave (2) and Random Task (7) were capable of winning the $13,000 first race, but believed the former could take some catching in front.
“Troublesome Dave should be able to lead, and if he does, I don’t think Matt (Elkins) will be handing up, which will leave my other fella three-deep along the markers,” Smith said.
Smith said his three other pacers, Ketut (race 2), Always in Command (race 3) and Celtic Cruza (race 7) had drawn awkwardly at eight, 10, and five respectively.
“They’ve all come back well this campaign and all three are capable of winning if the gaps open up at the right time. If any one them won it would not surprise me, but I think ‘Dave’ is my best winning chance,” said Smith, who is currently working a team of 14 - with more expected back in work soon.
Always In Command, who has won his last four races in a row at Redcliffe, is vying with Slice Of heaven, as Smith’s stable star.
“He was a bush horse down south, who has really developed into a nice pacer since transferring from Trevor White’s Wagga Wagga stable in February.
“I think the change of scenery has done him the world of good. In saying that Slice Of Heaven raced with a strained groin last campaign and is coming back real strong.
“I was unaware of his injury and it took vets a month to diagnose his problem. He went 1:52 at Albion Park when he was sore, so I’m really looking forward to him coming back this time in. He’s won 19 races ($116,372) compared to Always In Command, who has won 12 ($59,843),” Smith said.
Always In Command paced a 1:55.0 mile rate from gate six when winning over the same 1,780m mobile distance seven nights ago.
“He bolted in, and I’ve always thought with a good draw and clear run he’s more than capable of giving the track record (1:54.3) a real fright,” Smith said of the 8-year-old Always A Virgin gelding.
Smith’s comments about his quintet (with draw, recent form, driver, and opening odds) are:
Race 1: TROUBLESOME DAVE (2) 35-49 (Matt Elkins) $4.80 second favourite. “Six-year-old gelding, who is a high speed horse. His old racing pattern would see him run out and take a sit, but he’s a lot stronger now and can win in front. Last start he got back in the pack and was never in it. He’s got a lot of natural speed, and even though there are some nice horses in the race I can see him going very close here.”
Race 1: RANDOM TASK (7) 15705 (Nathan Dawson) $11. “He’s also a 6-year-old gelding who has drawn one on the second line. He has taken a couple of runs to come back this time, but he is strong, and although he might end up three-deep on he markers he can get some of it if the gaps open up. The draw makes it interesting. He is going very well.”
Race 2: KETUT (8) 35227 (Matt Elkins) $11. “He’s a Panorama gelding and you always know what you get with him. He usually tucks away and is driven cold. He only needs luck because he does round of his races well. He’s a good sit and sprint horse. I’d rate him an each-way prospect because he’s seldom far away and is a very honest. Last week he got pushed back in slow run race, but he’s had so many placings in Band 5 races.”
Race 3: ALWAYS IN COMMAND (5) 31111 (Nathan Dawson) $3.40 second favourite. “The five draw is a bit of a concern, but I’m glad he’s got Nathan driving him because he’s a good reader of a race and will make a decision early depending on what the horses do underneath him. He may go forward or he may duck for cover from five. Chapter One (2) and Ima Top Tycoon (4) are both fast horses and boast early speed. I think my fella is probably the best horse in the race, but he would be more suited to the bigger Albion Park track than this one, but in saying that I think he could give the track record a nudge if he had drawn closer to the rails. He’s a big striding horse who is absolutely flying at the moment, and all he needs is to be able to negotiate a path through.”
Race 7: CELTIC CRUZA (10) 49251 (Paul Diebert) $8. “He’s starting to blossom after a break. He’s taken a few runs to get back, but he’s really starting to kick back into it. Ten is not the draw we were hoping for, but he does have early speed and he’s a strong horse. He will be sprinting home if there’s a bit of early pace.”