There was joy a plenty in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales when four-year-old SMOKEY’S JOY rallied right on the winning post to take out race eight of the day, the Class 1 1200m sprint sponsored by the Australian Stockyard Company.

 The writing was on the wall after an excellent first-up run at Nowra when the son of Haradasun was only half a length behind the winner. Along with the facts that SMOKEY’S JOY is a proven performer early in his preparation and the track was rated as heavy all pointed to the horse producing a winning performance.

Three kilo claiming apprentice jockey Jean Van Overmeire from South Africa was declared as the rider which brought SMOKEY’S JOY weight to be carried down to 58.5kgs. The horse had drawn toward the outside barrier, having to jump from barrier eight in the field of eleven runners. The gelding was fancied in the betting market firming from an opening quote of $14 into $7.50 at jump time.

Shortly after the start, a couple of the runners namely  the $4.40 equal favourite Betrayed and Atlantic Dreamer which came from an outside gate, were ridden along with the intent of being up on the pace, if not leading. Jean “took stock” and decided to settle midfield holding a line four or five horses off the fence, albeit wide approximately five lengths off the front runners. 

It was there the pair remained for the majority of the race, SMOKEY’S JOY seemed to appreciate being out of harm’s way, bowling along at a steady clip. As the field passed the 800 metres mark, the duo were four lengths off the lead.

With 500 metres to go the pace began to quicken. Jean had his mount primed and began to make a forward move just prior to the home turn. As a result, SMOKEY’S JOY was the widest runner on the point of the corner, eight horses off the inside rail.

The jockey held his composure and once balanced up in the run for home was asking SMOKEY’S JOY for his final effort. The 200 metres pole was now behind them, Betrayed had kicked clear with Jean maintaining his line and rhythm on SMOKEY’S JOY, coming into the race nicely.

As the shadows of the post loomed, SMOKEY’S JOY now full of running, hit the lead. Inch Perfect, a local horse trained by Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones, was coming home hard from the back. 

Past the post and SMOKEY’S JOY was declared the winner by a half neck from the fast finishing Inch Perfect, third was Betrayed, which stuck on well, a further short half head away.

A nice ride by Jean and credit must go to Scott and the team at Singleton Racing for presenting the horse in great shape.

Well done to the owners, Messrs I.D. and A.J. Wheatland, Mr M C Sharp, Mr G D Schultz, Mr G P Sertorio, Mr T R Price, Ms N P Mazzuchelli, Mrs J M Watts and Mr S I Singleton (trainer). That’s two wins and a second placing from SMOKEY’S JOY’s five race starts and we are looking to add to that impressive record in the future.