Smiling Star paces clear to win the Cromwell Cup yesterday.
Photo by Matt Smith.
There were two reasons to smile for the connections of
Cromwell Cup winner Smiling Star yesterday.
The 4yr-old Grinfromeartoear gelding was a comfortable winner
in yesterday's $14,999 feature, part of the Southern Country
Several of the members of the Forever Smiling Syndicate,
which owns Smiling Star, are also part of the Arma Legend
syndicate which won the preceding race.
Phil Gourdie manages both syndicates and was on-course along
with wife Maria and several other syndicate members. Most of
the Forever Smiling syndicate are based in Christchurch while
Glen and Glenys Elley run the Criterion Hotel in Westport.
The talent has always been there with Smiling Star, who won
his first three races before placing third in the 2010 Sires
Stakes final, and Gourdie was full of praise for
trainer-driver Robbie Holmes and his wife, Carla
''He's been well placed in his races by Robbie and Carla,''
''They've done a tremendous job with this horse and they
looked after him when he faltered at the end of his 3yr-old
Smiling Star started off a 10m handicap and was sent forward
with a lap to go, grabbing the lead 1400m from home.
''This was the first time to have a go in front today and
he's done it and done it pretty well - he didn't knock off.''
Smiling Star has earned his chance at the group 2 Pelorus
Classic in Blenheim next Sunday.
''He'll deserve a break after that.''
Arma Legend was kept back in the running line in his 3yr-old
feature before Holmes peeled him out to win by three-quarters
of a length over Moonlight Gambler and Rakabolt.
The Mach Three gelding was purchased out of Michael House's
stables after one start and immediately placed third in the
2yr-old yearling sales consolation in May behind
Classiesistar who won the 3yr-old sales race at Alexandra
Park last week.