American Diva storms past field after missing start on the Gold Coast

American Diva, who won at the Gold Coast on Saturday, takes out a race at Doomben in 2016. Photo: Jono Searle.

American Diva, who won at the Gold Coast on Saturday, takes out a race at Doomben in 2016. Photo: Jono Searle.


AMERICAN Diva completed a 12-length turnaround off her worst start to claim a stunning win on the Gold Coast that shocked everyone but trainer John Smerdon.

The five-year-old mare won her first race of a three-run preparation on Saturday when she stormed from the back to win the Class 2 Handicap (1400m) with Jason Taylor in the saddle.

American Diva isn’t known for her starts but she began the race particularly badly as the leaders put eight lengths on her early on a heavy track.

But it didn’t faze Smerdon who knew American Diva would have no trouble burning past the field once she went around the home turn.

“She did miss the start a bit. I’m not sure what happened there,” Smerdon said.

“But she can miss it by half a length or so normally but that was about as bad as she has done it. She just likes to get in behind them and have the last crack.

“She always finishes off strong. The only way to ride her is out the back and let her run home.

“I wasn’t fazed because she was going to be there anyway.

“There was a bit of pace up the front which helps and makes for a back marker. I think (Taylor) might have got out on the better going too.”

It was the third win of American Diva’s 17-race career and the first since claiming victory at Doomben in August last year.

Smerdon said he was confident the daughter of All American would be competitive despite never previously racing on a heavy surface.

“That’s the first time she’s been on a heavy so obviously it doesn’t worry her,” Smerdon said.

“I was pretty happy with her leading into the race, she has done everything right and been really well at home so I was confident she would run well.”

Smerdon said he would likely start American Diva in a 1600m Class 3 event in Brisbane this weekend as he progresses her to a 2000m race.

“I’ll try to pick a restricted race that’s a bit farther in Brisbane. A Class 3 1600m would be probably ideal for her,” he said.

“We will just stretch her out and see if we can get her out to 2000m and get her through her grades.”


Story courtesy Tom Boswell Gold Coast Bulletin


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