The promising Smiling Star is a contender for the Geraldine
Cup tomorrow but his future plans are up in the air following
a decision by Harness Racing New Zealand.
The 4yr-old, trained by Robbie Holmes at Amberley, has won
his past two starts, fresh up from a long break recovering
from an annular ligament injury picked up when he went to
Auckland last year.
He won at Kaikoura in his first start back and then scored
another win on New Zealand Cup day at Addington.
At Geraldine tomorrow, he will start from the front line and
on grass, neither of which is to his liking.
"He has no experience on grass at all. The only grass trial
we could have had for him up here was on the same day as
[Canterbury] Show Day, so we were never going to go to that,"
Carla Robertson-Holmes, Robbie Holmes' wife, said.
"It can be a bit difficult but he is a well-gaited horse, so
hopefully it should be fine. He is not much of a leader,
although he did win his other race when he started from the
"He's a big solid horse, although he sometimes lacks a bit of
ringcraft." Smiling Star was being prepared for the $50,000
Pelorus Classic in Blenheim in January.
It was going to be a group two race for 4yr-olds but Harness
Racing New Zealand decided to include 5yr-olds in the field.
That opens up the contest to the likes of dual New Zealand
Cup winner Terror To Love.
Robertson-Holmes said that put the younger horses at a
"It is disappointing for all the owners of 4yr-old horses.
They do not want their horses to run against cup winners.
They've [5yr-olds] had their go."
Terror To Love's connections have already indicated the he
will race at Blenheim.
Harness Racing New Zealand has contacted interested parties
about the change. Submissions are due by December 7.