South­ern Lord in scin­til­lat­ing form

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

and de­vel­op­ing them for re­sale – has come up with such re­sults as The Heck­ler, who won the 2009 Karaka Mil­lion and Manawatu Sires’ Pro­duce Stakes.

He was pur­chased by the Taits in Aus­tralia and resold at the Na­tional Year­ling Sale.

South­ern Lord is an­other sourced as a young horse in Aus­tralia, only to go un­sold, hence he is now rac­ing in the Tait colours. The son of lead­ing young sire Stra­tum cost A$125,000 as a wean­ling at a sale on the Gold Coast in mid-2010 with the in­ten­tion of re­selling him as a year­ling.

Taken to the Syd­ney Easter Sale the fol­low­ing au­tumn, he failed to make his re­serve.

Be­ing left hold­ing a rather ex­pen­sive baby has fi­nally worked in the Taits’ favour, with his record from eight starts now stand­ing at two wins, four sec­onds and stakes a few dol­lars un­der $200,000.

‘‘We’re just in front now,’’ said South­land-born Alan as he re­flects on his ca­reer-high, one that he com­pares with his first win as an ap­pren­tice jockey back in the 1970s.

‘‘My first win­ner was a horse called Woodridge, who was trained by my fa­ther back in the days down in Riverton.

‘‘I won my next two on him as well and when we moved to Mata­mata we named our farm af­ter him.’’

Although South­ern Lord was at odds of bet­ter than 20-to-one in his Levin Clas­sic success, there was no deny­ing the pop­u­lar­ity of the big win, both for the horse and his hard-work­ing trainer.

South­ern Lord had fin­ished sec­ond in three of his lead-up races – twice to the un­beaten three-year-old star Sa­cred Falls – and had no luck when clipping that horse’s heels in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Ric­car­ton.

He re­turned to Mata­mata af­ter that race with the in­ten­tion of some time rest­ing up, but that lasted only a few days be­fore he re­turned to train­ing.

‘‘He was tear­ing around his pad­dock and Ga­lene said if I didn’t do some­thing with him he was go­ing to hurt him­self, so we brought him back in and thought again about head­ing down to Otaki. I gave him a gal­lop last Wed­nes­day morn­ing and that told me enough.’’

Hav­ing notched that first Group One vic­tory, Alan will now hand South­ern Lord over to former Mata­mata trainer Mark Walker with ma­jor three-year-old tar­gets in Sin­ga­pore on his hori­zon.

‘‘I did the deal with Mark when he was out here for the Ready to Run Sales and we’ll stay in the own­er­ship,’’ said Alan. ‘‘The only thing that will change that plan is if some­one of­fers us a mil­lion bucks for him, but at this stage he’s set to go into quar­an­tine and fly up there be­fore Christ­mas.’’

The Levin Clas­sic quinella wasn’t the only Otaki success by Mata­mata train­ers. Ja­son Bridg­man pro­duced classy colt Bur­gundy for a plucky freshup win in the Levin Stakes, while train­ing brothers Paul and Kris Shailer con­tin­ued their run of form by win­ning the two-year-old race with Any Sug­ges­tion filly Fan­tas­tic Hon­our, her sec­ond from as many starts.

The Bridg­man and Shailer sta­bles car­ried their form into the fol­low­ing day’s Whanganui meet­ing, where Ja­son won a tre­ble with Gun­smoke, Cold Snap and Im­pe­rial Miss, while the Shail­ers scored with Ca­sual Fling.

All three Bridg­man-trained win­ners were rid­den by Cameron Lam­mas, with the last of them tak­ing his ca­reer tally to 500.

Cameron, who served his ap­pren­tice­ship with Jim Gibbs, has from the be­gin­ning of the sea­son been the Num­ber Two rider for Te Akau Sta­bles and

Top form: South­ern man Alan Tait poses for the Chron­i­cle cam­era with his Levin Clas­sic win­ner South­ern Lord.

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