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Trainer's sole horse takes cup win by a nose


CUP WINNER: Major Carlisle with sponsors and connections

GEORGE Smith has just one horse in work at his Camden Park stable, but that one horse is reaping the rewards.

On Sunday, Smith’s four-year-old gelding Major Carlisle took out the 1660m Lonsdale Sand & Metal Easter Cup at Victor Harbor, in the closest race of the day with a three-horse photo finish.

Paying $19 on the tote, Major Carlisle, known around the stable as Nipper, favoured the wide Morgan Park track, putting in strong performance down the home straight in the 11-horse field.

It was the Major Carlisle’s third win from four starts.

“This has been his best prep, and his run yesterday was his personal best, he ran a good time,” Smith said.

“He’s improving all the time with his racing, he’s naturally getting better.”

Major Carlisle was bred by Smith, by Art Major USA and out of Smith’s mare Carlisle Queen, who won the two-year-old and three-year-old Southern Cross Series in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

The horses’s triumph at the Victor Harbor Harness Racing Club falls on the back of a win at Mildura earlier this month, and at Globe Derby Park last month, with driver Ken Rogers at the helm.

Smith said Major Carlisle favoured wider tracks and believed the gelding set a new personal best on Sunday.

“The track at victor is a beautiful track,” he said.

“I think that’s why he did so well yesterday, he appreciates the wide spaces.”

Described as a lazy track-worker, but a big eater, Smith said the horse developed its name after it was born on pageant day.

“It was either Nipper or Nimble,” Smith said.

“And he is a Nipper - we’ve always said we named this horse right.”

Smith has his eyes on racing Major Carlisle again at Victor Harbor next month if there is an appropriate race for the horse.