Big pay days confirm job well done
MAJOR wins at last week’s New Zealand Cup carnival were the best possible vindication for the responsibilities taken on this season by Matamata trainers Jason Bridgman and Andrew Clarken.
Bridgeman notched his first Group One victory with King’s Rose in the $300,000 New Zealand Bloodstock 1000 Guineas at Riccarton on Saturday, three days after Clarken had saddled up Altered Image to post his first training success in a group race, the $ 250,000 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile.
Both young men took up their respective roles at Te Akau Stables and Ballymore Stables on August 1, Bridgman to fill the big shoes of multiple premiership winner Mark Walker while Clarken was taking over from Paul Moroney as transtasman licenceholder Mike Moroney’s New Zealand-based training partner.
Less than four months later they can both reflect on a job well done to this point along with the prospect of what the future holds.
The New Zealand 1000 Guineas win by King’s Rose was the second for Te Akau in the past three years after Insouciant scored in 2007 and stands alongside wins by Tell A Tale, Darci Brahma and King’s Chapel in the other Riccarton classic, the New Zealand 2000 Guineas, earlier in the decade.
And as with those wins, the role that Te Akau’s satellite stable at Rangiora plays in that South Island success was again a crucial factor.
‘‘We gave King’s Rose a month’s work at Matamata before sending her south in August with the plan to set her for the 1000 Guineas,’’ says Bridgman. ‘‘ The catch was that with the winter having been so wet and cold she took a while to start to thrive and it was really only after she won at Ashburton midway through last month that we knew we were on target.
‘‘ That was what convinced Opie (Bosson) that she would be the one to beat and then when I was back down south a couple of weeks later I could see she had turned the corner. We were pretty confident.’’
Capping off the big day, Bridgman and Bosson also combined to win the feature twoyear-old race with handsome colt Bespoke.
Nor was that the end of the weekend action for Te Akau Racing. Mark Walker chimed in with his first success after two months in Singapore, saddling up Rio Fortune and Corsage to win consecutive races at Kranji on Sunday night and adding a second placing in the Singapore Gold Cup with Tell A Tale.
Teamwork was also the dominant aspect of Altered Image’s victory in the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile. That was integral to his recovery from a serious tendon injury suffered when he met severe interference in last year’s Mudgway Partsworld Stake.s
Altered Image, who showed his class nearly two years ago by winning the Bayer Classic, returned to racing in September and was a winner at his second start back. That confirmed plans for Riccarton and helped by Michael Coleman’s skilful handling, Altered Image overcame a wide draw and outclassed his opposition.
‘‘Training can be easy when you’re dealing with horses that have got his talent,’’ said Clarken.
‘‘ It’s been great to have my partner Olivia involved as his regular trackwork rider and to be able to draw on what Paul ( Moroney) and Mickey ( Coleman) know about him.
Another relatively new face on the local training scene to attain a personal milestone on the weekend was former Cambridge horseman Mark Brooks.
On Sunday at Te Awamutu Brooks posted his first win since taking up the position as Waikato Stud’s private trainer at the start of the season. It was only a minor maiden race that was won by first starter Flutter but it would still have meant a lot to Brooks to break his duck, especially with his partner Michelle Wenn in the saddle.
King’s Rose: Led in by Emma Stackhouse at the $300,000 New Zealand Bloodstock 1000 Guineas at Riccarton on Saturday.