Smolda, the 2016 Inter Dominion hero and Grand Circuit champion, has been a big part of Hunter Valley enthusiast Marcus Kirkwood’s life in harness racing.

Kirkwood part-owned the Courage Under Fire gelding who won 32 races – including nine Group 1’s – with 23 placings from 68 starts for $2.4million in stakes. He has taken care of the great pacer at his Westwood (near Singleton) property since his retirement.

Marcus wrote a book called Our Mate Smolda, which traced the racing career of Smolda.

“As far as racehorses go I think Smolda might hold the record for the number of trips across the Tasman Sea. He had 14 trips,” Marcus stated.

He also penned the book, Our Mate Tom, the story of his son Tom, who sadly passed away the day before his 18th birthday with a brain tumour.

“Smolda raced in a set of colours with the Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia on them and Our Mate Tom, was on the sleeves,” Marcus said. “Smolda was an equine ambassador for the Children’s Cancer Institute at the time.”

Marcus and his wife Sharon are offering a lovely Art Major filly from the immediate family of Smolda as Lot 329 at the Australian Pacing Gold sale at Warwick Farm on Sunday, February 25.

She’s out of the unraced Grinfromeartoear mare Grandma Gertie, a half-sister to Smolda and four other winners, and thus carries a double cross of supersire Artsplace.

The filly is a sister to Threebushelsofoats (1:55.8), who won four races as a two-year-old and was runner-up in the Group 3 NSW Breeders Challenge Eastern Region Final, and a half-sister to Speedie Eadie (1:56.5), whose four successes to date include a heat of the Vicbred Platinum Home Grown 3YO Classic.

“She’s a bay filly, an athletic type and a likely two-year-old,” Kirkwood said. “She was bred and raised at Jackie Gibson’s Success Stud. Jackie did a great job. She’s a great ambassador for the sport. She is being prepared by Darrell Standen here at Singleton.

“Darrell’s a bit of a journeyman of the sport. He’s a quiet achiever. We are indebted to Darrell for his efforts in preparing the filly.”

The Kirkwood’s, who conduct a rural supplies business, have high hopes for the quaintly named Two Cracked Corn, a two-year-old half-sister by the mighty Lazarus to Threebushelsofoats, Speedie Eadie and the Art Major yearling filly.

“Lazarus and Smolda often shared a paddock at Mark Purdon’s property in Christchurch,” Marcus said.

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