A latecomer crashed the party at Waterlea Raceway on Sunday when a classy pacer that did not run on the first day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club’s winter meeting turned up trumps to take out the feature event.
Smokin By, a four-year-old gelding, trained by Mitchell Kerr in Rangiora got home by a long neck in the hands of Matt Anderson to claim the Wairau Covers Marlborough Winter Cup over 3200m.
In a tight finish, Doitson, driven by John Dunn ran second while The Kaik, and Kimberly Butt, was a nose further back.
The winner, who started off a 20m handicap, last competed at Addington in the Uncut Gems on June 14. His connections decided not to race him on Friday, the first day of the Marlborough meeting, a wise decision as it turned out.
The first day winner of the Cup Prelude was Southland pacer Paddyproudfoot.
The four-year-old gelding, in the hands of Gavin Smith, made sure the long trip north was worthwhile, claiming the 2300m feature race over 2300m by half a length from favourite Storm Prince, with The Kaik third by a neck.
Paddyproudfoot, who finished fifth on Sunday, is trained by the Southland duo of Kirstin Barclay and Paul Ellis at Oreti Beach, near Invercargill.
A highlight for local stables came in race seven on Friday when Waterlea-based owner/trainer/driver Merv Bryers got Monaro Maro home by half a length in the feature trotting race.
Mitchell Kerr was the most successful trainer over the two days, picking up three wins.
Sheree Tomlinson took out the Mike Turner Junior Driver award from Korbyn Newman.