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