Two-length win with rider Vin­nie Col­gan

Matamata Chronicle - - Motoring -

Amid­week weather watch lead­ing to a change in plans pro­duced a big re­sult when Art Beat led home a Mata­mata tri­fecta in the Lion Red Plate at Ro­torua on Satur­day.

The weight-for-age fea­ture didn’t fig­ure in the plans of train­ers Wayne and Vanessa Hil­lis af­ter re­turn­ing home the pre­vi­ous week­end from Haw­era, where Art Beat had fin­ished mid­field in the Taranaki Breed­ers’ Stakes. But a fore­cast for a wet week got them think­ing and by Tues­day morn­ing, when their mare seemed none the worse for her trip and race, the de­ci­sion was made to en­ter for Ro­torua.

Fit­ness lev­els were no con­cern for the drop back from 1400 to 1200 me­tres and in the days lead­ing up to Ro­torua all Art Beat re­quired was low-level main­te­nance train­ing. The fore­cast rang true, lead­ing to a track rated slow by race morn­ing and fur­ther rain through the day guar­an­teed that con­di­tions would be to Art Beat’s lik­ing.

With reg­u­lar rider Leith Innes sus­pended, rid­ing du­ties went to in-form Vin­nie Col­gan and the up­shot was that the neatly-built ch­est­nut was able to eas­ily ac­count for her Lion Red Plate ri­vals. In his first race­day ride on Art Beat, Vin­nie let her find her feet in the early run­ning and then sent her for­ward to loom up wide be­fore run­ning clear for a twolength win over An­drew Scott­trained filly Ready Steady and the Moroney-Clarken rep Shah­bab.

That was Art Beat’s sec­ond win at Listed stakes level on top of her Tau­ranga Clas­sic suc­cess in June. Be­tween times she had won at Eller­slie in late Septem­ber and all up she now has a record of eight wins and more than $130,000 in stakes from 20 starts. She may be noth­ing spe­cial to look at but there’s no deny­ing the job she has done for her train­ers and owner­breed­ers Jim Marks and Garry and Shirley Bluett.

‘‘She nearly al­ways gives her best and even though this race was a late add-on, the sort of horse she is we knew she would give it her best shot again,’’ Wayne Hil­lis said.

‘‘I’m not sure what was be­hind her Haw­era run, she didn’t show much when the pres­sure went on. It could be the trip away – she did the same the only other time we took her down the line – so we might have to stick closer to home.’’ With a rise of more than 20 rat­ings points in her last six starts – she is now rated at 101 – Art Beat has reached a dif­fi­cult mark and with set-weight op­por­tu­ni­ties few and far be­tween will need to be care­fully placed from here on. The other fac­tor is track con­di­tions – six of her eights wins have been on slow or heavy ground – but if the weather was to play its part a race such as the $70,000 weight-for-age 1600m at Tau­ranga next month would be right up her al­ley.

Wins by two other Mata­mata­trained horses at Ro­torua, Golden Globe and Toma Valea, was a con­tin­u­a­tion of very con­sis­tent form by the pair trained re­spec­tively by Mark Bros­nan and Jim Col­lett.

Golden Globe took his record to three wins from just four starts when he com­bined again with his trainer’s daugh­ter Sam Col­lett for an easy win over three-year-old sprint op­po­si­tion.

Like Art Beat, there isn’t a lot of Golden Globe but his as­set is nat­u­ral gal­lop­ing abil­ity that he puts to good use. Former lead­ing jockey Jim Col­lett is mak­ing the most of the small team he has in work with Satur­day’s win his fourth from just 13 starters to date this sea­son.

Golden Globe has been a spe­cial chal­lenge for Jim af­ter sell­ing him as a two-year-old to a group of Auck­land own­ers and hav­ing him turn up again when the trainer they had placed him with found him too dif­fi­cult to han­dle. The in­struc­tions went some­thing like ‘‘You sold him to us so you sort him out!’’ To Jim’s credit – and his daugh­ter Sam de­serves men­tion as well – Golden Globe’s glitches have been ironed out and he’s now a very worth­while rac­ing propo­si­tion.

Toma Valea has also been a model of con­sis­tency in re­cent times, hav­ing turned his form around since a set of blink­ers was ap­plied.

His last five starts have pro­duced three wins and two sec­onds, with the other fac­tor in find­ing the se­cret to the former per­sis­tent maiden, Reese Jones, the rider in all three wins.

Mark Bros­nan’s sea­son has got off to an ex­cel­lent start with his cur­rent tally of eight wins com­ing from 33 race­day starters. Among his happy clients is former Ro­torua Rac­ing Club pres­i­dent John Lloyd, one of the par­town­ers of Toma Valea who has been able to cheer home two wins on his home patch in the past three weeks.

Last Fri­day’s Pukekohe meet­ing pro­vided a land­mark win with two-year-old colt Killa Ques­tion for new­comer trainer Paul Shailer. That made up for the dis­ap­point­ment of his first win­ner, Tiz Weiss­muller, be­ing dis­qual­i­fied af­ter re­turn­ing a pos­i­tive swab when he won at Mata­mata back in June.

Paul, who re­turned to New Zealand af­ter be­ing fore­man for lead­ing Syd­ney trainer Chris Waller, has moved on from that set­back and is mak­ing good progress as he builds a team around him.

Among his new-found clients is John Thomp­son of Rich Hill Stud, who placed Killa Ques­tion with Paul in the hope of gain­ing an early win for the colt’s sire, first sea­son stal­lion Any Sug­ges­tion.

That the former top Aus­tralian sprinter has come through with a win­ner so early in the piece means a lot to his im­me­di­ate ca­reer as well as bod­ing well for the fu­ture.

Fa­ther Time fi­nally caught up on former lead­ing steeplechaser Tum­blin’ Down, who died aged 31 last week.

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