A night to remember for Smith

Craig Smith - Josh Smith
Craig Smith

Josh Smith

Craig Smith will forever hold a soft spot for Cambridge Raceway.

The young Auckland-based horseman recorded his first win as a trainer at the Waikato track on Friday night when he reined home Whitehaven Beach to victory in the Buteline Plumbing Systems Mobile Pace (2200m).

The win was a dream come true for Smith, who had nothing to do with horses until entering the industry five years ago.

“It was a special night, it was a dream come true really,” Smith said.

“I started five years ago, so I didn’t have anything to do with horses. My old man used to watch the races and I used to go out to Motukarara and watch them with him.

“I saw the driving side of it and that interested me. After school I got straight into a job doing warehousing work and I just got sick of that and thought I’d give it (harness racing) a go and see how I got on.

“It was always the dream - to put my colours on and drive and train a winner.”

Smith received a solid grounding in the industry under Robert Dunn before moving north to work for Jeremy Young and subsequently John and Joshua Dickie, his current employers.

He has been at the Dickie’s Clevedon operation for a year and that is where he first became acquainted with Whitehaven Beach.

“When I first got to John and Josh’s he was there and he was being raced by Ken and Tony Barron up here,” Smith said.

“They eventually sold him to Ray Green and when I heard he was wanting to sell him I thought I’d have a go. John and Josh really supported me to get my trainer’s license.”

Smith, who shares in the ownership of the Somebeachsomewhere four-year-old with a group of friends from Christchurch, said the gelding was very honest and it was just a matter of time before he broke through for his maiden victory.

“I’ve never come in after driving him saying he has gone poor, he tries his guts out. I always knew his time would come because he is always giving it everything.”

Friday night was made even sweeter for Smith when he saluted the judge three races later behind Ideal Star in the junior drivers race.

Trained by John and Joshua Dickie, Ideal Star romped home by seven and a half lengths to record his second career victory.

“That was pretty cool,” Smith said. “I was just lucky enough to be sitting behind him. He did that pretty easy, I didn’t have to do much.

“I just let him go at the 800m and he did the rest, it was awesome.

“Working for John and Josh, they give you those opportunities, so I am very grateful for that - I’m loving it.”

Smith said that he doesn’t have any particular goals in-mind for the future, he just wants to improve as a trainer and driver and learn as much as possible.

“Because I’m pretty new to it, I’m just trying to take it all in and learn as much as I can and keep improving.

“The ultimate dream is to one day have my own wee set-up and train my own team.” – Cambridge Raceway


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