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Gotta Smudge ends McSween’s winless run
Xavier O’Connor (left) and Bruce McSween with Gotta Smudge following the three year-olds victory in the Reflect Events Maiden Pace at Ballarat on Tuesday.

BRUCE McSween always knew the strength of his young pacer Gotta Smudge.

But even he admits he did not know his horse possessed the turn of foot it displayed in the first two races of its career.

The three year-old stormed to its maiden victory in the Reflect Events Maiden Pace for three year-olds at Ballarat on Tuesday under a strong drive from Scotts Creek reinsman Xavier O’Connor.

It followed an eye-catching debut run at the same course on June 4, in which Gotta Smudge came from the tail of the field to finish second.

McSween said he was stoked with the victory but admitted he did not expect Gotta Smudge to show speed on the back of its work.

“He actually surprised me in his race a fortnight before his win,” he said.

“In his work he’s nice and strong and okay but he’s never shown me the speed he’s showing in a race, especially when he came home to run second.

“He ran a 27 and a half quarter, not many do that when they’re a first starter – he’d never shown me anything at all.

“He’s got more speed than I thought he ever had. It was nice to get back in the winners’ circle.”

The performance was significant but the win was even sweeter for the local harness trainer himself.

It was his first since May 20, 2016, when his former star Saxon Warrior won the Nextra Wendouree Pace over 2200 metres, ironically also at Ballarat.

Gotta Smudge claimed its maiden victory for Bruce McSween at Ballarat on Tuesday. The win was McSween’s first as a trainer since May 2016. Picture supplied by Claire Weston Photography

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