Mata­mata horses rule at Pukekohe

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

The hot run of form by horses trained by Gra­ham Richardson and the Mike Moroney-An­drew Clarken part­ner­ship con­tin­ued when they dom­i­nated black-type rac­ing at Pukekohe on Satur­day.

The Moroney-Clarken-trained Tin­sel­town added to his cups col­lec­tion with vic­tory in the $ 100,000 DHL Coun­ties Cup, while Richardson claimed a stakes dou­ble with his rapidly emerg­ing star Ital­ian Princess and twoyear-old filly Miss Up­start in the $45,000 Coun­ties Bowl and the $45,000 Murdoch Newell Stakes.

Tin­sel­town has been a star per­former for Bal­ly­more Sta­bles over the past two years, be­gin­ning with the Avon­dale Gold Cup in late 2008, fol­lowed by the Ro­torua Cup in May last year and the Te Aroha Cup last au­tumn. Along the way he has also fin­ished third in the Bris­bane Cup, sec­ond in the Ro­torua Cup and most re­cently sec­ond in the Caloun­dra Cup dur­ing this year’s Queens­land win­ter car­ni­val.

The seven-year-old Pen­tire geld­ing, whose 40-start ca­reer has gath­ered stake-earn­ings now verg­ing on $500,000, had hinted at a re­turn to form dur­ing the early stages of his cur­rent cam­paign and started favourite on Satur­day. Given a cosy trip by Bal­ly­more’s No. 1 rider Craig Grylls, Tin­sel­town came through to chal­lenge with 300m to run and in a blink had put his ri­vals away.

His vic­tory was so com­pre­hen­sive that Grylls was al­lowed the lux­ury of eas­ing him down over the last 50m, yet the mar­gin over run­ner-up Six O’Clock News was still a length-and-a-half.

‘‘He’s ap­par­ently had his is­sues over the years but right now he’s hum­ming,’’ said An­drew Clarken, who took over as Tin­sel­town’s co­trainer at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son.

‘‘His work last Tues­day was all we needed to know that he was right on tar­get for the race we had set him for.’’

This was the sec­ond big win this month for Bal­ly­more Sta­bles Mata­mata, on top of Al­tered Im­age’s equally easy vic­tory in the $ 250,000 Cou­p­land’s Bak­eries Mile at Ric­car­ton. Both horses are part-owned by their for­mer co­trainer Paul Moroney, who handed his du­ties over to Clarken as part of the plan to re­turn to his for­mer role as sta­ble man­ager and blood­stock con­sul­tant.

Across the Tas­man, Bal­ly­more prin­ci­pal Mike Moroney has been mak­ing his con­sid­er­able con­tri­bu­tion to the sta­ble’s for­tunes mainly through the top stay­ing filly Brazil­ian Pulse, who com­pleted the Wake­ful Stakes-VRC Oaks dou­ble at the Mel­bourne Cup car­ni­val.

Whether Tin­sel­town re­mains in New Zealand for sum­mer rac­ing or joins Moroney’s Flem­ing­ton sta­ble will be de­cided af­ter con­nec­tions dis­cuss his op­tions in re­la­tion to his po­si­tion in lo­cal hand­i­caps.

Satur­day’s win took Tin­sel­town to a rat­ing of 106, which is just two rat­ing points be­low Sir Slick, the high­est rated mem­ber of cur­rent mid­dle-dis­tance ranks.

On Satur­day he car­ried top­weight of 57kg off a rat­ing of 103 so with­out a higher rated horse en­tered for races like next month’s Waikato Times Gold Cup he will in­evitably be lumped with even more weight.

‘‘That’s the price you pay but he’s not a big horse and we have to take ev­ery­thing said Clarken.

‘‘We’ll be talk­ing to Mike about it and go from there.

‘‘Nat­u­rally I’d love him to stay but I can un­der­stand if that’s not go­ing to be the case. As far as how things are go­ing here I couldn’t be hap­pier. Our sea­son was a bit slow to be­gin with but the wins are com­ing reg­u­larly now; it’s all good.’’

As well as his sta­ble staff, An­drew also had a com­pli­men­tary word for Craig Grylls, who made the de­ci­sion ear­lier this year to make Mata­mata his per­ma­nent base.

‘‘Craig’s on a roll and he’s do­ing the job for us. He’s got a good work ethic and his race­day re­sults speak for them­selves.’’

Iron­i­cally Tin­sel­town’s rider in his defin­ing Tues­day gal­lop was his for­mer reg­u­lar jockey Michael Cole­man whose ties to Bal­ly­more are not as strong as pre­vi­ously but do still ex­ist as at­tested to by his Cou­p­land’s win on Al­tered Im­age.

‘‘ Mickey al­ready knew that Craig was booked for the Coun­ties


ac­count,’’ Cup but it’s a mark of his pro­fes­sion­al­ism that he was happy to do the job the other morn­ing,’’ Clarken ex­plained.

Michael got his re­ward on Satur­day when he part­nered the Gra­ham Richardson-trained pair Ital­ian Princess and Miss Up­start in their Pukekohe wins. In com­mon with the Bal­ly­more run of form the Richardson team has also been on a roll lately. That goes back in fact to a mem­o­rable home track per­for­mance on Team Weal­leans Mata­mata Cup day early last month when Atom Cat won the day’s fea­ture and Show Up was the ap­pro­pri­ate win­ner of the Richardson Rac­ing Sta­b­lesspon­sored event.

‘‘That was a fan­tas­tic day and things have car­ried on the same way since,’’ said Richardson.

Richardson can also take the credit as co-breeder and re­mains a part-owner of Ital­ian Princess, who is now well po­si­tioned to con­test the coun­try’s pres­ti­gious sprint dou­ble of the Rail­way Stakes, worth $200,000 at Eller­slie on New year’s Day and the $1 mil­lion Tele­graph Hand­i­cap later in Jan­uary at Tren­tham.

‘‘I can now do what I want lead­ing up to the Rail­way but at this stage I’m not sure what that will be, maybe just one run be­fore­hand.’’

Richardson had a spe­cial word for Michael Cole­man and his ef­fort to ride Ital­ian Princess on Satur­day at her book weight of 52kg.

‘‘It’s the first time I’ve trained two stakes win­ners in a day and hav­ing Mickey on both them was a bonus,’’ he said.

‘‘He did it the hard way to make the weight and we got a re­sult.’’

Ital­ian Princess’s sta­ble­mate Show Up kept her name in the frame for the big sum­mer sprints by hit­ting the line late for third in the same race.

Whereas Ital­ian Princess was favourite at Pukekohe, fea­ture two-year-old win­ner Miss Up­start was let go by pun­ters de­spite hav­ing won one of her two pre­vi­ous starts.

‘‘Things didn’t go her way when I sent her down to Tren­tham but she bounced back from that and de­spite the odds ($ 22) I was ex­pect­ing a big run on Satur­day,’’ said her trainer.

‘‘She’s been a lit­tle pro­fes­sional from the time she ar­rived at the sta­ble.

‘‘She turned up here af­ter be­ing bro­ken in, walked into her box as if she had been there 10 years and has been an out-and-out pro­fes­sional ever since.’’

Richardson now in­tends set­ting the Syd­ney-owned filly for the race ev­ery Mata­mata trainer wants to win, the $100,000 J Swap Contractors Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes.

‘‘Time is on our side now that she’s al­ready won a stakes race. She might race at Eller­slie over Christ­mas but the Breed­ers’ is the race I’d love to win and I think she’s the filly that can do it.’’

Tin­sel­town: and Craig Grylls have the $100,000 Coun­ties Cup wrapped up as they coast to the fin­ish at Pukekohe on Satur­day.

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