High fly­ing ex­pec­ta­tions

Lo­cals won’t have it all their own way in Breed­ers’ Stakes. Den­nis Ryan re­ports

Matamata Chronicle - - Breeders’ Stakes -

LO­CAL train­ers have a fan­tas­tic record in the Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes but that’s not to say they won’t face a se­ri­ous chal­lenge from the vis­it­ing con­tin­gent.

Since the Jim Gibbs-trained Tu­dor Sky be­came the first home track win­ner of Mata­mata’s flag­ship race in 1981 an­other 16 have taken the hon­ours.

Un­der­lin­ing that statis­tic, the lo­cals have won the last five edi­tions of the two-year-old filly fea­ture.

But when the field for the 2011 J Swap Con­trac­tors Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes heads to the start on Satur­day week, it is an­tic­i­pated that it will in­clude the coun­try’s high­est rated ju­ve­nile filly, Cam­bridge-trained An­a­ban­dana and the highly re­garded Fox­ton filly O’Ceirins Magic.

The Breed­ers’ Stakes was ear­marked for An­a­ban­dana by her trainer Don Sell­wood and her owner, Hamil­ton su­per­mar­ket op­er­a­tor Chris Grace, fol­low­ing her nose win in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes at Eller­slie on New Year’s Day. That was the Aus­tralian-bred filly’s first win but only bad luck had pre­vented her from break­ing maiden sta­tus when sec­ond and third in her two pre­vi­ous starts.

‘‘She de­served that Eller­slie win and the Breed­ers’ Stakes seems the log­i­cal race to go for next,’’ her trainer said. ‘‘You’ve al­ways got to re­spect the lo­cals when you race at Mata­mata but I’m con­fi­dent my filly can give it a good shake.’’

Fox­ton trainer Sandie Cook­son has the ev­i­dence of just one pub­lic ap­pear­ance to say her filly O’Ceirins Magic de­serves her place in the Breed­ers’ Stakes field. But any­one who saw that Tauherenikau win on Wai­tangi Day would have to agree, af­ter O’Ceirins Magic blew the start, met traf­fic prob­lems when try­ing to im­prove yet still man­aged to grab an un­likely win in the last two bounds.

‘‘She had looked pretty smart at home and we were hopeful go­ing into the Tauherenikau race but we had to think again af­ter see­ing what she had to over­come and still win,’’ Sandie said. ‘‘I don’t think we’re be­ing too cheeky tak­ing on the good fil­lies up north.’’

Sandie will be re­turn­ing to fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory when she heads to Mata­mata, hav­ing trained from a base at Te Aroha a decade or two back when her sur­name was Colquhoun.

Horses she trained then in­cluded the classy gal­loper Lord Tri­dan, who won his first four starts in the 1989/1990 sea­son be­fore he was trans­ferred to the Mike Moroney sta­ble.

Chal­lenger: One visi­tor that ev­ery­one will have their eyes on at the 2011 J Swap Con­trac­tors Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes will be Cam­bridge-trained An­a­ban­dana.

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