Smith celebrating with more than Pimms

The Ross McCarroll-trained Pimms ‘N’ Pearls (Taiki Yanagida) gaining an overdue win for her owners Chris and Lee Smith at Avondale yesterday.

Former Cambridge horseman Chris Smith celebrated a highlight yesterday with the win of Pimms ‘N’ Pearls, but it was still no match for the celebration he had exactly 11 years ago.

As the latest running of the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) looms up at Ellerslie on Saturday, Smith has memories of his biggest highlight as a trainer and owner when Maureen Dorothy finished second to Vincent Mangano in the major juvenile event in 2008.

Maureen Dorothy, who was raced by Smith and his siblings, never did win in 15 starts, having to be content with six placings, but she did haul in $172,000 for that Karaka Million second placing and a start earlier she had been runner-up in the Gr.3 Eclipse Stakes (1200m).

Smith also prepared Maureen Dorothy’s daughter Stocktake (by Tavistock) to win a couple of races and enjoyed plenty of highlights when training and part-owning the talented sprinter Warmark, who won seven races.

Smith celebrated several of his wins when shifting from Cambridge to Te Aroha, but he gave up training on his own account last year when heading to Karaka to take on the role of assistant trainer for Brendan and Jo Lindsay’s private trainer, Lance Noble.

With the move came the decision to send Pimms ‘N’ Pearls to his friend, Cambridge trainer Ross McCarroll to try and the ultimate result occurred at Avondale yesterday.

In her first raceday start for McCarroll, Pimms ‘N’ Pearls prevailed in the West Brook Winery 1200 for Smith and his wife, Lee.

And to keep the celebrations going, the Lindsays and Noble followed up with a win by Sistabeel in the very next event, the NZB Insurance Pearl Series 1200m.

Smith had previously prepared Pimms ‘N’ Pearls, who was bred by his sister, Penny Ashton, and had faith in her ability, though the raceday form didn’t back up his judgement.

Pimms ‘N’ Pearls had tailed the field home in her first two starts then beat one home in her last start for him at Te Aroha last April.

When being sent Pimms ‘’N’ Pearls, McCarroll soon realised that her form didn’t match up with her trackwork.

“On her work I think she’s actually a good horse, but she’s got to do it on raceday,” McCarroll said in a pre-race interview.

“I’ve seen her races before and I’m not sure how brave she is.”

Pimms ‘N’ Pearls did give McCarroll a slight confidence-booster when he produced her to win at the Te Awamutu trials last month.

‘’At the trials we just let her run forward and it was really good,’’ McCarroll said.

The same tactic was adopted yesterday with ride Taiki Yanagida working her across from her wide draw to soon be in front.

She kicked on the home turn, but then ran out slightly inside the last 100m but Yanagida soon straightened her and she was back in control, showing a fair amount of courage to hold out Conquering Kelly by a long head.

“That was the plan and he (Yanagida) rode her to perfection, keeping her going and keeping her happy,’’ McCarroll said after the win.

“When we first got her she was doing a bit of climbing like a green horse so maybe she’s still learning.’’

Pimms ‘N’ Pearls is a daughter of the Bel Esprit mare Mums Apparition, who won two races in 2011 when prepared by Smith.

Now in a winning mood himself, Smith will be hoping the run of luck continues for his bosses, particularly at the Karaka Million meeting.

The Lindsays’ colours will be carried by four runners over the seven-race programme including two youngsters, Probabeel and Louis Luck, chasing the lion’s share of the $1 million on offer in the Karaka Million 2YO.

Probabeel, a daughter of Savabeel, followed a debut second with two wins for Matamata trainer Jamie Richards, but has drawn the outside barrier, while stablemate Louis Luck, a son of Dissident who won on debut at Trentham, has drawn nicely at barrier four.

The Lindsays will also be represented in the $70,000 Gr.3 Preferment @ Brighthill Farm Concorde Handicap (1200m) by Pretty To Sea, a first-up winner for Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh, and Save The Date, a last-start Gr.3 placegetter trained by Noble, in the $100,000 Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m).