Bur­gundy over­comes thumps

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

Po­etry in mo­tion came to Te Rapa last Satur­day in the form of New Zealand’s best three-year-old sprinter Bur­gundy as he romped away with the $70,000 Wind­sor Park Stud Breed­ers’ Stakes.

Bur­gundy, a three-quar­ter­brother to for­mer class gal­loper Darci Brahma and like­wise a $1 mil­lion-plus Karaka year­ling pur­chase by Te Akau boss David El­lis, has since his ear­li­est days un­der sad­dle shown im­mense abil­ity. There was no great sur­prise, there­fore, when he won twice at the tri­als and then won his first three races, which re­sulted in him start­ing as favourite in the first clas­sic of the sea­son, the Gr 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Ric­car­ton in Novem­ber.

Out of the blue, how­ever, Bur­gundy was hit with a case of the con­di­tion known as the thumps and could fin­ish only sixth be­hind his sta­ble­mate Rock ’n’ Pop. Ex­ten­sive tests cleared him of any long-term ef­fects and af­ter a brief let up, Bur­gundy was set a sum­mer pro­gramme to as­sess his Derby prospects.

Third plac­ings in the 1600-me­tre Great North­ern Guineas and Welling­ton Stakes were on the sur­face handy ef­forts but not true in­di­ca­tors of Bur­gundy’s abil­ity or po­ten­tial, so it was back to the draw­ing board. The main chal­lenge for trainer Ja­son Bridg­man was to har­ness the zippy colt’s strengths, which meant tak­ing him back to square one and re­tun­ing him with a view to end­ing his sea­son with two fea­ture age-group sprints.

Te Akau Sta­bles em­ployee, young English­man Michael Thompson, played a key role in Bur­gundy’s daily rou­tine as he put in­ten­sive slow work into him and kept him in a pos­i­tive frame of mind.

One of the last things that he needed was gal­lop­ing, some­thing that his han­dlers were well aware of as they mapped his progress to a re­turn to rac­ing at the Auck­land Cup car­ni­val in early March.

Fast work still had to play some part in his prepa­ra­tion and ev­ery time he was asked to run at speed it sim­ply served to un­der­line what a gifted gal­loper he is.

A fur­ther re­minder was his fresh-up per­for­mance in the 1200-me­tre Mr Tiz Tro­phy at Eller­slie, when a wide draw and a tough run were not enough to stop him.

Satur­day’s final as­sign­ment for the sea­son at Te Rapa, also over 1200 me­tres, al­lowed Bur­gundy the op­por­tu­nity to prop­erly dis­play his tal­ents. He had an ideal draw to take a handy po­si­tion and obliged by lead­ing out then drop­ping into a trail when his rider Matt Cameron asked him to ease.

‘‘I knew as soon as he dropped the bit and agreed to just cruise along that they wouldn’t beat him,’’ said Matt. ‘‘He had things un­der con­trol a long way out and he showed them what he’s made of.’’

Although fel­low Mata­mata­trained three-year-old Whosy­our­mas­ter tried bravely to come off his heels and make a race of it in the straight, he was no match and had to set­tle for sec­ond more than two lengths adrift.

For not the first time, Ja­son Bridg­man was glow­ing in his as­sess­ment of Bur­gundy.

‘‘It’s an ab­so­lute priv­i­lege to train a horse like this. He’s the best I’ve ever had any­thing to do with and it’s very sat­is­fy­ing to pre­pare him for a per­for­mance such as we’ve just seen.’’

If Bur­gundy’s clos­est con­nec­tions are right, what we’re see­ing now is only a taste of what’s to come.

‘‘You wait till the spring once he’s had a de­cent hol­i­day,’’ pre­dicted David El­lis. ‘‘He’s got so much de­vel­op­ing to do and I would just love to see him in Melbourne in the spring com­pet­ing in their big 1200 and 1400-me­tre races.’’ Ja­son is of a sim­i­lar mind. While ac­knowl­edg­ing that the 1600-me­tre stakes event that Bur­gundy won in his third win of the spring might not have been the ul­ti­mate test at that dis­tance, he re­mains pos­i­tive about the prospects of har­ness­ing his abil­ity to win a ma­jor race over 1600 me­tres.

‘‘The im­prove­ment he’s shown in his work, his be­hav­iour and the way he’s han­dled life in gen­eral since we changed things around makes me very op­ti­mistic for the fu­ture,’’ his trainer ex­plained. ‘‘Now that we know what suits him we’ll be able to build on that when he comes back into work for his four-year-old sea­son.’’

Bur­gundy was one of four Mata­mata-trained win­ners at Te Rapa on Satur­day, be­gin­ning with the two-year-old About Square who made a per­fect de­but from the Moroney-clarken sta­ble. The day be­fore at their home track meet­ing the Bal­ly­more Sta­ble duo had won two races with Short Tale and Reve­la­tor, while across in Melbourne Mike Moroney pro­duced a win­ning dou­ble on Satur­day’s Caulfield pro­gramme.

This week­end marks the end of the Moroney-clarken train­ing part­ner­ship, with An­drew set to re­lo­cate to Pukekohe where he will go into part­ner­ship with Gareth Mcrae. His place will be taken by re­cently re­tired jockey Chad Ormsby, the part­ner of Mike’s daugh­ter Aliesha.

The re­main­ing Mata­mata­trained win­ners at Te Rapa were the Gra­ham Richard­son-trained, Waikato Stud-owned Se­quin, scor­ing her fourth win from just 10 starts, and the Paul Jenk­in­strained Pu­ty­our­faithinme.

That three-year-old filly looked a stayer of some po­ten­tial given the man­ner of her win over 2000 me­tres and it wouldn’t sur­prise to see her be­come an early star for her trainer when he makes his move shortly to Queens­land.

Pu­ty­our­faithinme races in the same colours as for­mer Jenk­ins sta­ble head­lin­ers Bazelle, the win­ner of the Auck­land Cup and the Zabeel Clas­sic, and Marton Cup win­ner Heat Haze. Like those two very good gal­lop­ers, she is raced by her breed­ers, for­mer Aus­tralian-based cou­ple Gary and Lorna Moore, with their Mata­mata farm man­ager Al­lan Wright also hav­ing a rac­ing in­ter­est.

Lo­cal gal­lop­ers got their share of the ac­tion when they won five of the nine races on last Fri­day’s Mata­mata card. Be­sides the afore­men­tioned Bal­ly­more Sta­bles pair, Alan Tait pro­duced Over­throw to break his duck at his twen­ti­eth start, the Karen Furs­don and Gemma Sliz-trained Agent Ziva fol­lowed her pre­vi­ous start Ro­torua maiden win with an­other per­for­mance that stamped her as a horse with a fu­ture, and An­drew Scott’s Imaran de­liv­ered on his po­ten­tial with an im­pres­sive fresh-up per­for­mance.

One fur­ther win­ner from the cen­tre wor­thy of men­tion is A Touch Of Ruby, a two-year-old filly by Pins who won the $30,000 fea­ture at last Wed­nes­day’s Pukekohe meet­ing.

She had met all sorts of bad luck in her only pre­vi­ous start but put that be­hind her with a strong win over a smart field of ju­ve­nile fil­lies.

A job well done: Bur­gundy and his strap­per Michael Thompson pa­rade fol­low­ing an im­pres­sive Wind­sor Park Breed­ers’ Stakes per­for­mance at Te Rapa on Satur­day.

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