MILES AHEAD: Paul Smith trained Moonhawk won the opening race of the July Carnival in style taking the 2-year old Maiden Plate by a large margin.
MILES AHEAD: Paul Smith trained Moonhawk won the opening race of the July Carnival in style taking the 2-year old Maiden Plate by a large margin. Mitchell Keenan

Smith off to good start in July Carnival curtain raiser

RACING: Paul Smith's Moonhawk claimed the opening race of the July Carnival taking out the Westlawn 2-year old Madien Plate by a huge margin yesterday.

The chestnut gelding exploded out of the machine to get off to a strong lead early in the race.

Jockey Raymond Spokes then rode the horse well in front of the group to hold his composure around the bend.

Race favourite Vivendo Il Sogno gave chase alongside John Shelton trained Queenofthecastle but the Coffs Harbour horse streamed out to extend its lead and claim the convincing win.

Smith said he was pleased with Moonhawk's run and was delighted to get off to a good start at Prelude Day.

"I was very happy with that, he started well and held off with a strong finish," Smith said.

"I think there were about four of five horses looking likely in that one but I'm glad he got the job done."

Smith also had three-year old Delayed Response taking part in the Grafton Guineas Prelude and was excited for some of the bigger races ahead.

"It's always a great carnival up here, I'm looking forward to seeing how I go in some of my other events but it was a good start that's for sure," Smith said.

Finishing behind Moonhawk and Queen of the Castle in the July Carnival curtain raiser were Murwillumbah horse Vivendo Il Songo and Tamworth trained Boomalong.