The epic bat­tle of the Sams

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

they had set­tled down to fight out the fin­ish, Lady Royale proved su­pe­rior as she put a length on her ri­val at the line.

Com­plet­ing an all-vis­i­tors’ fin­ish, the Manawatu pair Silk Belt and Plat­inum Ba­los filled the next two plac­ings, with Cam­bridge filly Eyesonyou fifth ahead of the best of the lo­cals, Reachin’ Out.

Lady Royale is trained by the re­cently formed part­ner­ship of Richard Col­lett and Gareth McRae, both for­mer suc­cess­ful jock­eys in the South Is­land.

In the con­text of Sam Spratt be­com­ing the first fe­male to ride a Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes win­ner, it’s also ap­pro­pri­ate that Richard Col­lett’s wife Judy was a mem­ber of that pi­o­neer­ing group back in the late 1970s.

Un­der her maiden name Hawes, Judy was a suc­cess­ful mem­ber of the South Is­land fe­male jock­eys’ room.

In more re­cent times she and her hus­band have cel­e­brated fur­ther jockey suc­cess through their three chil­dren, Natasha, Ja­son and Alysha, while their cousin Sam Col­lett is the daugh­ter of for­mer leading jockey Jim Col­lett and the still ac­tive Trudy Thorn­ton.

As re­ported on the front page of this edi­tion, Lady Royale is owned by Arthur Avis, a re­mark­ably ac­tive 90-year-old who still lives on his Bom­bay Hills farm and never misses race­day when one of his horses is com­pet­ing.

Arthur has struck up a re­ward­ing as­so­ci­a­tion with blood­stock con­sul­tant Robert Dawe, who lived in Mata­mata for sev­eral years back in the 1970s when he and an­other for­mer lo­cal res­i­dent, Dun­can Suther­land, es­tab­lished the rac­ing and breed­ing mag­a­zine New Zealand Blood­horse.

The part­ners even­tu­ally shifted the busi­ness to Auck­land and Robert went on to be­come a prin­ci­pal in Thor­ough­bred Pub­li­ca­tions, which these days is the pub­lisher of the weekly and on-line rac­ing edi­tion The In­for­mant.

Robert and his wife Les­ley, who now live in semi-re­tire­ment at the north Auck­land sea­side re­sort of Omaha, made a point of be­ing track­side on Satur­day to cheer Lady Royale home.

The $40,000 year­ling se­lec­tion joins oth­ers such as So Wo­tif as a big win­ner for their vet­eran owner.

Breed­ers’ Stakes day proved some­thing of a ben­e­fit for the ladies.

Sam Spratt scooped a big ju­ve­nile dou­ble, hav­ing ear­lier in the day also rid­den the Stephen McKee-trained Prince Mambo to vic­tory in the twoyear-old colts and geld­ings’ fea­ture, the Reid & Har­ri­son Slip­per.

Prince Mambo’s own­ers in­clude All Black icon Sir Colin Meads and his wife Lady Verna, along with Hong Kong res­i­dents Matthew and El­iz­a­beth Oram.

All four were on-course on Satur­day, when it was some­thing of a re­peat cel­e­bra­tion for the Orams, who are also part-own­ers of the 2012 Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes win­ner Roll­out The Car­pet.

Sam Col­lett gained com­pen­sa­tion for her sec­ond plac­ing on Steel Rose in the Breed­ers’ Stakes when she scored an up­set win in the next race, the Waikato Stud 1200 on the Pins geld­ing An­to­nio Lombardo, a mem­ber of the in-form Peter and Ja­cob McKay team.

There was also an el­e­ment of con­so­la­tion for lo­cal jockey Kelly My­ers in her up­set win on Te Aroha mare Princess Ky­oto in the last of the day’s fea­tures, the $50,000 Marks Ewen & As­so­ciates Kaimai Stakes.

That race fol­lowed some 20 min­utes af­ter Kelly’s for­mer reg­u­lar mount Nashville had scored back-toback wins in the $200,000 Haunui Farm Group One Clas­sic at Otaki.

For good mea­sure she then com­bined with Cam­bridge mare Fly­ing Orca in the fi­nal race on the card to get up in the fi­nal stride and down lo­cal gal­loper Jug­ger­naut Rock.

With Mata­mata’s big race­day of the sea­son done and dusted, the fo­cus now turns to the first day of the Auck­land Cup car­ni­val when lo­cal hopes will fo­cus on leading TV3 New Zealand Derby can­di­dates Puc­cini for Peter and Ja­cob McKay, Spell­binder (Ja­son Bridg­man) and Ha­bit­ual Of­fender (Mike Moroney and Chad Ormsby).

Photo: TR­ISH DUNELL.

Sams first and sec­ond: Pukekohe filly Lady Royale (Samantha Spratt) wins the J Swap Con­trac­tors Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes from Steel Rose (Samantha Col­lett).

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