Ladbrokes Gardens added a new feature in 2022 - the Robert Smith Memorial Maiden over the 515m.
The exciting new $20,000-to-the-winner two week series, sponsored by Multicam and locked in for at least the next five years, remembers the late Robert Smith who sadly passed away from cancer, aged 68.
Smith, one of the Hunter Valley’s most successful trainers during a career that spanned more than four decades, was a huge supporter of Ladbrokes Gardens since its opening in 2005, making the venue the ideal place to stage the event.
The race is being sponsored by Kevin Gordon through Multicam Routing Systems.
The inaugural event was taken out by Peter Lagogiane's French Martini, who a week after a stunning 29.22s heat win, defeated Embrace (who would go on to win the Group 1 Peter Mosman) in the final a week later.
French Martini would go on to show her full potential by qualifying for the 2022 TAB Million Dollar Chase final and then returning to Ladbrokes Gardens later in the year to smash the track record in the heats of the Black Top, before claiming the final a week later.
In 2023, Big Boy Wilson claimed the race for Medowie local Martin Bowe.
The final time of 29.67 saw Big Boy Wilson defeat another local, Silver Session, by 0.75 lengths, with Has Ability finishing third.
"I'm feelin' bloody fantastic...he only got beat by half a head in the heats and he's run two tenths quicker than the heats so he hung on a little bit longer," Bowe said.
"I met him [Robert] when I first started training...he introduced himself to me and I only had the one dog and he said "mate, the only advice I can give you is, all dogs are different, just be patient"...and that was the best advice he's ever given me," he said.
"He'd be upstairs smiling down on us knowing local trainers have quinella'd the race, that's what he would have wanted" he added.
Big Boy Wilson and Martin Bowe atop the podium after the Robert Smith Memorial Maiden