Racing: Smolda leads weekend blitzkrieg over Oz rivals

By Michael Guerin

Smolda. File photo / Christine Cornege
Smolda. File photo / Christine Cornege

Smolda led a complete Kiwi domination of their Australian rivals over the weekend.

The New Zealand Cup runner-up went one better when he led and beat a very brave Lennytheshark in the A$120,000 Ballarat Cup on Saturday night, setting himself up beautifully for a massive month ahead.

Smolda finally found the front for the first time this season but needed to dig deep to beat the Inter Dominion champion, with the pair well clear of Bling It On and Mossdale Conner.

All four now meet in the A$400,000 Victoria Cup at Melton on Saturday night, with tomorrow's barrier draw crucial.

Smolda headlined a night on which the New Zealand horses, with the benefit of a huge summer of racing already behind them, smashed their rivals.

Smolda's stablemate Lazarus overcame a second line draw to effortlessly win the first heat of the Victoria Derby and is the $1.40 favourite for Saturday's classic pre-draw.

But it was Kiwi trotting sensation Monbet who stole the show, coming from a 20m backmark to thrash his opponents in the first heat of the Australasian Trotting Champs by 19m, suggesting next Saturday's final is his to lose.

One Over Da Moon, on loan from the Tony Herlihy stable to local trainer Chris Alford, capped the domination by winning the second heat, albeit in a three second slower mile rate for the 2710m. Auckland Cup winner Have Faith In Me continued the trend when he won his Australian debut at Menangle even though he spent much of the free-for-all gawking around.

The superstar four-year-old was beaten for speed early but was soon parked and outstayed his rivals. He will race at Menangle again this Saturday to qualify for his main aim, the A$200,000 Chariots Of Fire on February 13.

If successful there he could take on Beautide, Lennytheshark and co in the A$750,000 Miracle Mile on February 28.

- NZ Herald

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