Mckays’ six starters well placed

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Peter McKay was back in the win­ning groove when his win­ter hia­tus ended with a dou­ble at Ruakaka last Satur­day.

Win­ter is al­ways a quiet time at Mon­tego Lodge, and this year was no dif­fer­ent af­ter an­other pro­duc­tive sea­son that saw Peter and Kim McKay’s se­lect team win 12 races – six of them at black-type level – from just over 100 starts.

Be­fore head­ing to Ruakaka on Satur­day morn­ing with a six­horse con­tin­gent, Can­terino had been the only run­ner for the sta­ble in the open­ing weeks of the new sea­son.

The lightly- tried 3 year old has shown – with two third plac­ings – that he won’t take long clear­ing maiden grade.

Things got se­ri­ous on Satur­day, how­ever, with the six starters in the blue with light­ning bolt colours net­ting two wins, one sec­ond, two thirds and one fourth. An­to­nio Lom­bardo was the star of the show as he took his Ruakaka record to three wins from as many starts with an im­pres­sive per­for­mance in the day’s main sprint.

Spring­time in the north ob­vi­ously agrees with the son of Pins. Two years ago he won the first ju­ve­nile race of the north­ern sea­son and he re­turned to the same meet­ing last year to add the Listed West­bury Stud Chal­lenge Stakes be­fore com­plet­ing a hat-trick in the Hawke’s Bay Guineas and James and An­nie Sarten Memo­rial Stakes.

Af­ter dis­ap­point­ing in the sec­ond half of last sea­son, An­to­nio Lom­bardo’s 4-year-old sea­son had be­gun in pos­i­tive style with a trial win, but his week­end per­for­mance con­vinced his con­nec­tions that he was back to his best.

‘‘It was nice to see him take a sit and fin­ish it off so well,’’ said his trainer.

‘‘His style had been to ei­ther lead or sit out­side the leader . . . but he showed an­other di­men­sion this time.

‘‘Last sea­son he would get him­self wound up at times and he could be a bit feisty, but he’s re­ally grown up men­tally.

‘‘When we got to the track he went and stood in the back of his box, he took the race in his stride. He was nice and laid­back after­wards.’’

Fel­low 4-year-old Es­trato, who fin­ished third to his sta­ble­mate in that Ruakaka ju­ve­nile race two years ago, brought up the McKay sta­ble’s sec­ond week­end win in the race im­me­di­ately af­ter An­to­nio Lom­bardo’s.

Es­trato fol­lowed his de­but third with an early 2-year-old dou­ble and had scored only one fur­ther win since, but there was plenty to like about his re­turn to form on Satur­day against handy op­po­si­tion.

There was also plenty to take out of the placed per­for­mances from the re­main­der of the Ruakaka con­tin­gent. Undis­closed, a ver­sa­tile per­former at a va­ri­ety of dis­tances last sea­son, in­di­cated an­other good sea­son when third to An­to­nio Lom­bardo, while Travino, the McKays’ best two year old last term, did well to fin­ish third in the West­bury Stud Chal­lenge Stakes.

The big colt was one of sev­eral run­ners to strike traf­fic prob­lems in tran­sit and was do­ing his best work at the fin­ish be­hind the un­beaten Cam­bridge colt Sa­cred Falls and an­other from Mata­mata, the Alan Tait-trained South­ern Lord.

Fol­low­ing an an­nual pat­tern, the McKay colours were again ob­vi­ous in the first ju­ve­nile race of the sea­son at Ruakaka, with sec­ond and fourth plac­ings by Zaragoza and Al­mansa a solid plat­form for what lies ahead.

An­to­nio Lom­bardo: Opens the McKay sta­ble’s new sea­son ac­count at Ruakaka on Satur­day as Opie Bos­son brings him home first ahead of lo­cal gal­loper Flash Hapi and sta­ble­mate Undis­closed.

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