Geld­ing gains come­back win

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

PETER McKay isn’t what you’d call a sen­si­tive sort of guy, but that all changed when Joey Massino com­pleted an amaz­ing come­back at Tau­ranga last Satur­day.

In his sec­ond start since re­turn­ing from an in­jury-en­forced ab­sence of 21⁄ years, the 6-year-old was back in win­ning form with a brave fron­trun­ning per­for­mance in the fea­ture Tau­ranga sprint.

‘‘I was just about emo­tional,’’ says Peter, who trains Joey Massino in part­ner­ship with his son Ja­cob and shares own­er­ship with his wife Kim and sta­ble stal­wart Trevor Luke. ‘‘He’s been a good horse to us and has been with us for a long time.’’

Nearly five years in fact, dat­ing back to when the O’Reilly colt was pur­chased for $140,000 from Waikato Stud’s 2008 Na­tional Year­ling Sale draft. Less than 24 hours ear­lier the McKays had pock­eted their $560,000 share of the stake at­tached to the in­au­gu­ral Karaka Mil­lion, com­pli­ments of the win by Joey Massino’s year-older half-brother Vin­cent Mangano.

That was in­cen­tive enough to rein­vest some of the win­nings in the colt that was to be­come known as Joey Massino, and he kept his end of the bar­gain. Af­ter sev­eral plac­ings, in­clud­ing a fourth in the Group I Manawatu Sires’ Pro­duce Stakes, he won his fi­nal two-year-old start, the Listed Cham­pagne Stakes at Eller­slie.

He re­ally blos­somed the fol­low­ing sum­mer with four wins that in­cluded the Group II Avon­dale and Great North­ern Guineas and the Group III Welling­ton Stakes, but he pulled up sore in what would have been his fi­nal race be­fore the New Zealand Derby and was found to have bone chips in a front fet­lock joint.

Af­ter an op­er­a­tion to re­move the chips and time off re­cov­er­ing, Joey Massino re­turned to train­ing as a spring 4 year old, only to suf­fer a ten­don strain that meant more time on the side­line. Af­ter be­ing given the rec­om­mended time out he was back in work – by now it was early 2011 – but in his first se­ri­ous piece of work he suf­fered an­other in­jury lower down in the same fore­leg ten­don.

As a colt with an at­trac­tive pedi­gree and good per­for­mance there was the po­ten­tial for a stud ca­reer, but af­ter mak­ing in­quiries in var­i­ous quar­ters and com­ing up blank, Peter McKay made the de­ci­sion to geld Joey Massino.

‘‘By this stage he was four years old and we had to run him in a pad­dock by him­self,’’ says Peter. ‘‘He looked pretty mis­er­able stand­ing around so we de­cided he would be bet­ter off as a geld­ing.

‘‘Not long af­ter, I was talk­ing to a studmas­ter who asked me where Joey was at and then he said he would have been in­ter­ested in stand­ing him. That was a bit frus­trat­ing given he had just been gelded but there wasn’t much we could do about it.’’

Fast for­ward to mid-2012 and Joey Massino had been given the green light to re­sume train­ing and re­turned to com­pe­ti­tion with a trial in late Septem­ber. He fin­ished sec­ond in that and filled the same plac­ing next time out a month later be­fore mak­ing his long-awaited re­turn to the races at Eller­slie on Novem­ber 6.

He had no luck in that 1200-me­tre race but the main thing was that he pulled up in good shape, which meant a sec­ond-up run at Tau­ranga on Satur­day – and the ul­ti­mate re­sult, a re­turn to the win­ner’s list.

‘‘That was dif­fer­ent to a nor­mal win,’’ says Peter. ‘‘Given what he’d been through it was just great to see him back.’’

Satur­day was not with­out its con­cerns af­ter morn­ing rain soft­ened the track. Luck­ily Joey Massino’s race was the fourth on the card and the track was still in rea­son­able con­di­tion. ‘‘It was get­ting bor­der­line but we de­cided to leave him in.’’

Af­ter mak­ing the pace in the 1400-me­tre Gartshore Con­struc­tion hand­i­cap, Joey Massino fought off his chal­lengers to score by a head from the John Sar­gent-trained pair Made My Point and Sadist.

Now his con­nec­tions are look­ing at fea­ture 1600-me­tre events on the hori­zon, be­gin­ning with a race at Eller­slie early next month and the races such as the Rich Hill Mile at Eller­slie on New Year’s Day and the Thorn­don Mile at Tren­tham later in Jan­uary.

‘‘He’s un­beaten at 1600 me­tres and it makes sense to aim him at those races while he’s still rea­son­ably well off in the hand­i­cap,’’ says Peter.

Mean­while, older brother Vin­cent Mangano is on the verge of also re­gain­ing his best form. His last win was the Pe­ga­sus Stakes at Ric­car­ton just over two years ago and he posted his first mi­nor plac­ing since March of last year when third at Eller­slie ear­lier this month. He fol­lowed that with a sec­ond plac­ing in the Stew­ards’ Stakes at Ric­car­ton last Wed­nes­day and will be aimed at the Con­corde Hand­i­cap at Eller­slie early next month.

Mi­nor plac­ings were also the lot of Mata­mata’s con­tin­gent on the fi­nal day of the big Ric­car­ton carnival. The Ken and Bev Kelso-trained filly Fix put up an­other mer­i­to­ri­ous ef­fort for third in the Group I New Zealand Blood­stock 1000 Guineas af­ter hav­ing ev­ery chance, while the Gra­ham Richard­son-trained stayer Sin­gle Minded bounced back from a dis­ap­point­ing Mel­bourne cam­paign to fin­ish sec­ond in the Group III New Zealand Cup.

On form: Joey Massino (9) makes a long-awaited re­turn to the win­ner’s list with vic­tory over Made My Point and Sadist in the rain at Tau­ranga on Satur­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.