Now For The Miracle; Smoken Up will return to Sydney and prepare for the Miracle Mile
It was only a matter of time before Australian superstar Smoken Up broke his duck at Addington Raceway.
The fastest pacer in the southern hemisphere was clinical in his all the way victory in today's (Friday) Gr.1 $NZ160,000 Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All defeating Franco Emirate and Pembrook Benny.
Smoken Up ended a frustrating run of placings for his connections after being placed in his previous four starts in Group One features while campaigning in Christchurch including his narrow second in Tuesday's New Zealand Cup behind Terror To Love.
Sent out as a firm favourite, Smoken Up was sent forward by his trainer/driver Lance Justice from his wide draw and took the lead away from Pembrook Benny before they passed the mile mark.
Despite the very windy conditions, Justice was able to rate the front-running Smoken Up perfectly while the challengers quickly made their moves, Monkey King was the first to pull before Smiling Shard and then Franco Emirate came calling.
Entering the back straight, Smoken Up was joined by Franco Emirate while Power Of Tara strode forward three-wide to apply more pressure, Gomeo Romeo stalked the leaders as he followed up nicely wide on the track.
Justice released the shackles on Smoken Up soon after straightening, the Tinted Cloud gelding kicked strongly as Franco Emirate tried hard to catch him but Smoken Up held a clear margin up the long Addington straight.
“It would've been a shame if this horse didn't win a race here, he's finally got one now.” Justice stated immediately after the event.
Smoken Up scored officially by a 1 ½ lengths from Franco Emirate with a ½ length further back to Pembrook Benny.
The time for the 2000m event was 2;25.3 which gave the winner a mile rate of 1;56.9.
Smoken Up covered the final half in 55.9 seconds.
“It wasn't a day for record times because the wind is horrific, it was hard work for all runners.
“I'm proud of Trigger, once I called on him he felt great getting up the straight.
“The second horse went super, he's a big lump of a thing who fought very strongly all the way to the very end.”
Justice has immediately switched his focus to his next target, the Gr.1 $500,000 SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle on November 26.
“We'll head home and prepare for a repeat in the Miracle Mile, we all know how much he loves that track and those conditions.
“It's going to be a super strong race this year but I'm happy.”
Meanwhile, the Gr.1 $NZ200,000 Hellers Dominion Trot was taken out by Vulcan for the Premier Stables of Tim and Anthony Butt.
The victory provided connections with his fourth Group One trophy and his second within a week after scoring in the Gr.1 $NZ80,000 NZ Trotting Free-For-All on Tuesday.