Newcastle trainer Ben Smith beats the odds for first double at home

DOUBLE DELIGHT: Newcastle trainer Ben Smith's runners caused two upsets to secure his first double at home on Saturday. Picture: AAP
DOUBLE DELIGHT: Newcastle trainer Ben Smith's runners caused two upsets to secure his first double at home on Saturday. Picture: AAP

Group 1-winning trainer Ben Smith delivered a knockout blow to punters when he landed his first double at his home track of Newcastle on Saturday.

The Smith-trained Lunar Spun and Kanavu won back-to-back races at the juicy odds of $26.

Lunar Spun, raced by Sydney-based Dynamic Syndications, was having his second start for Smith when he contested the 1300-metre benchmark 64 handicap.

The gelding raced harshly when restrained first-up from a spell and seventh at Coffs Harbour on July 22. Smith was not surprised by Lunar Spun's win.

“He fired up when a horse crossed him at Coffs Harbour and he fought the rider for 300 metres," Smith said.

"I changed the gear on him in his trackwork and I got him comfortable with the nose roll which he wore for the first time today.

"Lunar Spun has been working well and I was confident he would run well.

"I will handpick his races and there are a few more runs in him yet.

"I have 30 horses in work and a dozen of them are owned by Dynamic Syndications so it was great to train another winner for them."

Three-year-old Kanavu then claimed the 1200m maiden handicap on debut. Smith, though, wasn't as confident about the colt's prospects as he was of his stablemate.

"I have a good opinion of Kanavu but he won today's race on raw ability," Smith said.

"He had four barrier trials and he kept improving but he is not quite there yet.

"I will probably give him another run or two then spell him. He will come back a more mature horse."

The win of Kanavu was satisfying for Smith because he bought the colt at an Inglis Ready to Run Sale for $110,000.

The advertised Kanavu on his website and he filled the syndicate of 17 within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Smith said Everest runner In Her Time will have an exhibition gallop at home on Newcastle Cup day, September 14, then a barrier trial five days later before a first-up run in the Premiere Stakes (September 29).

His other group 1 winner, El Dorado Dreaming, will trial at Newcastle on August 20 and be set for the VRC Oaks during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

Australia's premier trainer, Darren Weir, was successful with his second-ever Newcastle starter when import It's A Silvertail outclassed his rivals in the 2900m Hunter Stayers Cup but the gelding’s future is now uncertain.

The Ballarat-trained nine-year-old settled back in the field but was racing keenly so Andrew Gibbons let him rip around the 1000m mark and he raced to the lead.

He bounded away to win by 3 ½ lengths but stewards reported that a post-race veterinary examination revealed him to be lame in the off-foreleg and to have sustained an injury to his near-fore tendon. His racing future was to be followed up with the Weir stable.

Maitland trainer Ken Lantry produced the longest-priced victor of the day when $91 chance Lady Wahoo won the last.