Filly’s fine form was forecast
the day off for the locals with a promising type in Chaparral Lass in the first race of the day. The daughter of boom sire High Chaparral became a serious New Zealand Oaks candidate in an impressive staying performance to record her second win from two starts on her home track.
Magic Briar likewise signalled a lucrative autumn for her trainers and part-owners Ken and Bev Kelso when she downed another talented local, Three Wishes, in the threeyear-old sprint. She’s scheduled to start next in the Mr Tiz Trophy, another age-group event, on the last day of the Auckland carnival.
Cup week opens this Saturday with a programme headlined by the $ 2.2million Telecom New Zealand Derby.
The Kelso-trained Wisecrack, who bounced back to form with an impressive performance at Ellerslie last week, has been confirmed as a starter in the classic.
Wisecrack, another by High Chaparral, won on debut in late January but spoilt that record at his next start when he reared as the gates opened. His subsequent return to form combined with the booking of leading Australian jockey Chris Munce has convinced his trainers and ownerbreeder Gary Harding that he should be allowed a shot at New Zealand’s richest race.
All up, it’s anticipated that Matamata will be represented by five runners in the Derby. John Sargent has Banchee and Ying Yang Master engaged, while Jason Bridgman also has a doubleheader entry in Icepin and Encosta Diablo. Banchee will be ridden by James McDonald, whose career best sixwin bag at Otaki last Saturday included a treble for Karapiro trainers Steven Ramsay and Julia Ritchie, while Opie Bosson takes the mount on Encosta Diablo and Sam Spratt will be on Icepin.
Matamata will also have a significant presence in next Wednesday’s $1million Stella Artois Auckland Cup. The Sargent stable has two entries but it appears likely that only pre-race favourite Passchendaele will front up with Red Ruler probably being reserved for the New Zealand Stakes on the final day of the carnival.
Moroney- Clarken stable also has two entries, Tinseltown and He’s Under The Gun but at this stage only Tinseltown is assured of a start. To secure his place in the field, lightweight He’s Under The Gun may need to run in this Saturday’s Nathan’s Memorial, which carries an automatic Cup qualifying clause for the winner but that decision will be made once connections assess his place in the starting order later in the week.
Run away win: Proud owner Chris Grace leads Anabandana back to the scales after her impressive victory in the J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ Stakes.