FEATURE RACE COMMENT
Part-owner, co-trainer and driver Justin Smith had Some Direction beautifully placed on the outer early, so well positioned in fact that he didn't even need to ask her to move until the field approached the final bend. Once he set her alight Some Direction swept around the field and trucked home better than anything, winning the 3200 metre event in a creditable 4:11.7.
The victory put an end to the run of 'big event almosts' that her and her connections have had to contend with lately, because she has run fourth in each of the last three Group 1 races she has tackled - March's Trotters Championship (to Allegro Agitato), last year's Dominion Handicap (Pompallier) and the NZ Trotting Free-For-All (Allegro Agitato) a week earlier.
It seems like Some Direction has been around for ages - and literally, she has; the Sundon mare gained her first win at Waskdyke in February 2001, over five and a half years ago! In all she has made 120 starts, and has now won 20 of them. Considering that last Friday's win was her first major one, her stakes tally of over $216,000 in amazing in itself, but if anything it just highlights how consistent she's been throughout her career. For the record, those 120 outings have also yielded 17 seconds, 13 thirds, 24 fourths, 11 fifths and 11 sixths...only 16 times has she not taken home a cheque.
"Yeah, she goes pretty good most weeks," said Smith afterwards, in his typically understated manner. She's got speed and she can stay - she hasn't really got any faults. She would be impossible to replace." Now nine, Some Direction still looks and is performing like a horse half her age, and there is no talk of retiring her just yet. "When she won her last race last season, it was one of her best performances ever; that helped decide it," Smith said.
Some Direction's been victorious at Addington 11 times, Ashburton (four), Washdyke (twice), and Rangiora, Oamaru and Forbury Park (once). As that suggests, she is not a horse that the Smiths go very far with. "She's never been a good traveller, even on short trips," he said. "And she's no quite as good the Auckland way round either. There's always another race for her here at home."
Some Direction's next main target will be the Cup Meeting at Addington, where Smith says that backing up three days apart won't worry her one bit. In the touch she's in, it would be no surprise to see her grab an even higher accolade...
Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 18Oct06