Thrilling fin­ish makes for great day

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - DENNIS RYAN Rac­ing colum­nist

Athrilling home-straight duel be­tween two high class fil­lies, a mas­sive crowd en­joy­ing the Mata­mata Rac­ing Club’s flag­ship event on a per­fect sum­mer track and a lo­cal driv­ing away with a $50,000 car prize high­lighted last week­end’s ex­tremely suc­cess­ful J Swap Con­trac­tors Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes day.

Given the con­test that un­folded, there was a cer­tain irony that the field for New Zealand’s high­est rated 2-year-old fil­lies’ race num­bered only six.

That mat­tered not a dot when it came to the cut and thrust of qual­ity rac­ing as home town favourite Bound­ing and Hast­ings raider Re­cite knuck­led down to fight for their share of the $100,000 stake.

The out­come af­ter the fi­nal 300 me­tres when both re­fused to yield was vic­tory by mere inches to the vis­i­tor. All credit to Re­cite for keep­ing her un­beaten record in­tact, but huge plau­dits also to Bound­ing as she tasted de­feat for the first time in three starts.

Re­cite, a mem­ber of the John Bary sta­ble that housed former cham­pion 3-year-old Jimmy Choux, is a daugh­ter of the former classy Mata­mata-trained gal­loper and now ex­cit­ing young stal­lion Darci Brahma. His wins for trainer Mark Walker in­cluded the Mata­mata Slip­per for ju­ve­nile males on Breed­ers’ Stakes day eight years ago. Now he’s mak­ing his name as one of New Zealand’s most promis­ing young stal­lions.

On-course to share in the ex­cite­ment of Re­cite’s win was former Waikato Stud gen­eral man­ager Rick Wil­liams, who th­ese days man­ages the blood­stock af­fairs of Queens­lan­der Dick Kar­re­man. For sev­eral years the quar­ry­man has owned Cam­bridge nurs­ery The Oaks Stud, where Darci Brahma stands and where Re­cite was bred.

Re­cite’s win over Bound­ing – with an­other lo­cal in Role Model nearly six lengths away third – marked the third suc­ces­sive year that the lo­cals have been thwarted in their at­tempts to win the most prized of all home­town races. Mata­mata train­ers still got their share of the ac­tion, how­ever, with six wins on the 10-race card headed by one of the cen­tre’s youngest par­tic­i­pants, Ja­son Price, sad­dling up Reid & Har­ri­son Slip­per win­ner Al Strada.

In their ef­forts to es­tab­lish them­selves in the com­pet­i­tive train­ing ranks, Ja­son and his wife Kelly have been pre­pared to put real money up to se­cure likely tal­ent. In re­cent years that has in­cluded the smart filly Queen Boudicca, who fin­ished third in the 2011 Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes, while an­other is the promis­ing stayer Jug­ger­naut Rock.

The Prices have shared own­er­ship of those two horses with fam­ily mem­bers, but the sta­ble mem­ber that has given them their first black-type win is owned en­tirely by them­selves.

They paid $22,500 for the strap­ping ch­est­nut at last year’s Karaka year­ling sales and got a quick re­turn when he won on de­but at Paeroa in early Jan­uary. Dis­ap­point­ment fol­lowed in the coun­try’s rich­est race, the Karaka Mil­lion af­ter Al Strada had a luck­less run and fin­ished last, but the real McCoy turned up on Satur­day to lead all the way un­der a heady Reese Jones ride.

The Prices’ share of the $50,000 stake puts them well in the black on their most suc­cess­ful pur­chase, with the prom­ise of more to come as his proud own­ers eye the big au­tumn dou­ble of the $200,000 Haunui Farm Di­a­mond Stakes and $225,000 The Oaks Stud Manawatu Sires’ Pro­duce Stakes.

While Ja­son’s is the trainer’s name in the race­book, he’s more than ready to give credit where it’s due for a horse that proved very tough to master dur­ing his early ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘Kelly de­serves all the credit for that. She’s the one who sorted him out,’’ says the young man who be­gan his ca­reer un­der the tute­lage of Mike Moroney.

‘‘This is a mas­sive thrill and makes all the hard work worth­while. He’s a lovely horse with so much nat­u­ral tal­ent.’’

Al Strada’s big win com­pleted a clean sweep by the lo­cals of the first half of Satur­day’s pro­gramme, be­gun by the Phil Stevens-trained long­shot Shez Ka­pable and con­tin­ued by Mrs Neat, from the Mike MoroneyChad Ormsby team, the Stephen Autridge-trained Sil­verdale and Brave Cen­taur, pre­pared by Lance No­ble.

Sil­verdale ap­peared to have lost all chance when he blew the start in the Rich Hill Stud 3YO 1200 to be sev­eral lengths last in the early run­ning, but af­ter catch­ing the field he just kept coming and ran out an im­pres­sive win­ner.

Brave Cen­taur com­pleted a hat­trick when he tack­led open com­pany for the first time, adding to wins on the way through the grades at Eller­slie at ei­ther end of De­cem­ber.

Ap­pro­pri­ately, the son of O’Reilly’s fifth ca­reer win came in the Waikato Stud 1200 and now own­ers Michael St­ed­man and Terry Mag­ill can look for­ward to a tilt at the pres­ti­gious Easter Hand­i­cap back at Eller­slie in April.

Ap­pro­pri­ate is also the only way to de­scribe the sixth Mata­mata­trained win­ner on Satur­day’s pro­gramme.

Danc­ing At­ten­dance won the New World Mata­mata 1600 in the pur­ple and white colours of Hen­ri­etta, the Dowa­ger Duchess of Bed­ford, whose fam­ily has such an affin­ity with the Breed­ers’ Stakes as the former gen­er­ous spon­sors of Mata­mata’s flag­ship race.

Sev­eral other fac­tors added to the plea­sure of the win, first that the English aris­to­crat known to so many in the Mata­mata district as Lady T was on-course to cheer home her lat­est win­ner in the his­toric colours, and that like so many be­fore her, Danc­ing At­ten­dance is a de­scen­dant of the fa­mous Blooms­bury Stud (UK) foun­da­tion mare Mrs Moss.

The real plea­sure that Lady T was able to share was that Danc­ing At­ten­dance is trained by Eric Betty, who along with his wife Gle­nis has had a long­stand­ing work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the Duchess.

When Danc­ing At­ten­dance ar­rived from Aus­tralia in Novem­ber, hav­ing failed to get in foal at what was to be the end of her rac­ing ca­reer, Eric sug­gested that he should reap­ply for his trainer’s li­cence and give the mare one more prepa­ra­tion.

‘‘Why not?’’ all agreed, and on Satur­day, at just her sec­ond start for her new trainer, the lovely big ch­est­nut de­liv­ered with ca­reer win No 4 and the prom­ise of more to come.

Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes thriller: Hast­ings raider Re­cite (Mark Du Plessis, near­est cam­era) just edges out lo­cal hope Bound­ing.

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