Sin­gle-minded ap­proach wins

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Richie’s Cup run­neth over. A re­cur­ring theme on the rac­ing front over the past two or three months has been the suc­cess rate of horses trained by Gra­ham Richard­son.

At Eller­slie on Satur­day it was more of the same when the Richard­son-trained Sin­gle Minded added the Gr. 2 Avon­dale Cup to the Gr. 2 City Of Auck­land Cup he won on the same course on New Year’s Day.

With a Welling­ton Cup fourth slot­ted be­tween those two wins, the veteran of just 11 starts is now sched­uled to re­turn to Eller­slie with one of the best form­lines to the $500,000 Stella Ar­tois Auck­land Cup on March 7.

‘‘It’s quite amaz­ing what he’s done in such a short ca­reer,’’ said his trainer. ‘‘I have to keep re­mind­ing my­self that he’s still only four and he has it all in front of him, but he tries so hard when­ever he goes to the races.’’

Sin­gle Minded has a rep­u­ta­tion as par­tic­u­larly tough cus­tomer, one that needed pa­tient han­dling and tol­er­ance.

Var­i­ous Richard­son sta­ble staff have played their part, none per­haps more so than his reg­u­lar track­work rider Jackie Bar­low, an ex­pe­ri­enced horse­woman who adopts the same firm but tol­er­ant pol­icy that she does with other mem­bers of the Richard­son team on her ‘‘spe­cial projects’’ list.

The same tough streak also played its part in Sin­gle Minded’s re­cov­ery from a hair­line frac­ture to a can­non-bone that he suf­fered when win­ning his first race in late 2010. Af­ter six weeks con­fined to his sta­ble and a long re­cu­per­a­tion he was ready to re­turn to rac­ing last Novem­ber, win­ning first-up over 1600 me­tres and adding an­other three wins, a third and a fourth in five sub­se­quent starts.

The big ques­tion around Sin­gle Minded and most other Auck­land Cup can­di­dates is whether he will man­age the ex­treme flat rac­ing dis­tance of 3200 me­tres.

Three wins a fourth from four starts over 2400 me­tres an­swer part of that ques­tion, and any­one want­ing to know more needs only to talk to his reg­u­lar rider Craig Grylls.

‘‘He’s got a lovely stay­ing style, he just rolls along and keeps giv­ing,’’ said the young man who has rid­den Sin­gle Minded in all five of his wins.

‘‘I’d be sur­prised if he doesn’t run two miles and I can’t wait for the Auck­land Cup.’’

Sin­gle Minded is likely to be joined in the Eller­slie fea­ture by lesser rated sta­ble­mates Top Spot and Dadzadreamer.

Top Spot was un­placed be­hind Sin­gle Minded on Satur­day af­ter get­ting well out of her ground, but qual­i­fied for a start when third in the City Of Auck­land Cup.

Dadzadreamer may have clinched his place in the field when he com­pleted a sta­ble dou­ble by win­ning the last race at Eller­slie on the week­end.

That was his first win for al­most two years and per­haps it’s no co­in­ci­dence that it fol­lowed a course of school­ing over the jumps in the mid­dle of the Mata­mata train­ing tracks.

Dazadreamer’s win took his trainer’s tally to 30 for the sea­son thus far, match­ing his best ever re­sult from 2009-10 with more than five months re­main­ing of the cur­rent sea­son.

Gra­ham Richard­son ex­pects to have at the most just one run­ner at his lo­cal meet­ing on Satur­day, but he will have a def­i­nite pres­ence as a race spon­sor and the host of a func­tion for sta­ble clients.

‘‘I love rac­ing on my home track but it’s just the way it’s worked out with most of the team rac­ing else­where lately and now tar­get­ing the Auck­land Cup car­ni­val,’’ he said.

‘‘My one pos­si­ble run­ner is Sudoku in the Breed­ers’ Stakes.

‘‘She’s had just one the start for a bit of an un­lucky fifth in a big field and might be lucky to get a run.

‘‘She wouldn’t be the worst though, so we still might have some­thing to cel­e­brate.’’

John Sar­gent kept his big sea­son rolling when he sad­dled up Choice Bro to win the Gr. 3 Plat­inum Homes Clas­sic at New Ply­mouth on Satur­day, tak­ing his tally at the top of the train­ers’ pre­mier­ship to 59.

Ja­son Bridg­man was also in win­ning form at the Taranaki meet­ing with the Waikato Stud-owned filly Glad, then added an­other two at Sun­day’s Wairoa meet­ing to put him on 45 wins and a clear third pre­mier­ship po­si­tion.

Waikato Stud had a win­ning week­end on both sides of the Tas­man, with an­other home-bred three-year-old filly in Shopa­holic up­set­ting the hot favourite Mosheen in the Gr. 3 Van­ity Stakes.

In line with the pol­icy of as­sess­ing young rac­ing stock be­fore de­cid­ing where they would be best placed, Shopa­holic won one of her four lo­cal starts as twoyear-old last au­tumn be­fore be­ing sent to Melbourne trainer Danny O’brien.

The Pins filly, who has now won four of her nine starts, is out of the O’reilly mare Splash­ing Out, who was also a good win­ner in Melbourne, while oth­ers that have made sim­i­lar ven­tures worth­while in­clude the dual Group One win­ner Glam­our Puss along with big win­ners Ugachaka and Do Ra Mi.

The Gr. 2 Kewney Stakes at Flem­ing­ton last March was Do Ra Mi’s big­gest win, but she re­turned to Waikato Stud af­ter dis­ap­point­ing in her spring cam­paign. She’s now back in work with newly li­censed res­i­dent trainer Kate Her­cock, who re­turned late last year from Ma­cau and af­ter a trial win ear­lier in the month she is sched­uled to be Kate’s first race­day starter in the open sprint on her home track this week­end.

As al­ways, this Satur­day’s big pro­gramme of rac­ing cen­tred on the flag­ship $100,000 J Swap Con­trac­tors Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes will at­tract strong fields and plenty to keep the ex­pected big crowd en­ter­tained both on the track and off.

See you there.

Suc­cess­ful: Sin­gle Minded and Craig Grylls have the Avon­dale Cup in safe­keep­ing from their only chal­lenger, Boom­ing.

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