Ground­hog Day for con­nec­tions

Matamata Chronicle - - Happy New Year - DEN­NIS RYAN Rac­ing colum­nist

Are­mark­able run of form con­tin­ued with another week­end of fea­ture rac­ing and fur­ther early Christ­mas booty for some of Mata­mata’s win­ningest con­nec­tions. Once again it was a case of trainer Dan­ica Guy and own­ers Paul and Shirlie Ryan tak­ing away another big prize, only un­like their com­bined re­cent ef­forts with the classy sprinter In Style, this time they did so sep­a­rately.

The Ryans’ third big win in as many weeks came through Sur­pass, a Sav­abeel geld­ing whose last 18 months have been with Mel­bourne-based trainer Mike Moroney. On Satur­day he was hav­ing his first New Zealand start since win­ning at Te Rapa in July last year and it was at the same venue that he re­peated in the $100,000 Waikato Times Gold Cup. Sur­pass had ar­rived back in Mata­mata only 10 days ear­lier but looked the part when Bal­ly­more Sta­bles’ Mata­mata trainer Chad Ormsby took him through his fi­nal se­ri­ous gal­lop last Tues­day morn­ing.

In Satur­day’s 2400-me­tre fea­ture he was put right on the speed by Opie Bos­son and was be­ing hailed as the win­ner a long way from home.

In Style’s Coun­ties Bowl and Con­corde wins at Avon­dale and Eller­slie had al­ready put her right in the frame for the Gr. 1 Rail­way Stakes back at Eller­slie on New Year’s Day and now Sur­pass heads the TAB’s fixed odds mar­ket for the other $200,000 event on the card, the City Of Auck­land Cup. Dan­ica Guy, who trained Sur­pass be­fore he was sent to Mel­bourne, kept her run of form go­ing on the week­end with the ris­ing star of her team, To­mor­row­land. Thrown in at the deep end in a bid to claim a spot in the field for the $250,000 Tele­graph at Tren­tham next month, he proved right up to the task as Michael Cole­man brought him home in the day’s $50,000 Listed sprint to post his fifth win from just seven starts. The third fea­ture event on the Te Rapa pro­gramme, the $100,000 Cal Isuzu Stakes, was also a case of an un­tapped tal­ent step­ping up to the plate for a win­ning team. Sports Il­lus­trated – like In Style and To­mor­row­land by for­mer Waikato Stud stal­lion Fast ’N’ Fa­mous – went into the weight­for-age race off a last start win in much lesser company.

Sports Il­lus­trated is trained by Cam­bridge part­ners Mur­ray Baker and An­drew Fors­man, whereas by con­trast two Mata­mata-trained win­ners on the Te Rapa support card scored in the colours of Cam­bridge’s most fa­mous breed­ing iden­tity, Sir Pa­trick Ho­gan. That’s not par­tic­u­larly re­mark­able, but the fact that the horses in­volved – Ir­ish En­core and Onl­yarose – ac­tu­ally dead-heated cer­tainly sets it apart. Cap­ping the oc­ca­sion, both horses were rid­den by ap­pren­tice jock­eys from the sta­bles of their re­spec­tive em­ploy­ers, Ir­ish En­core by Lance O’Sul­li­van and An­drew Scott’s Jack Wong and Onl­yarose by Anna Jones, whose boss Karen Furs­don found an ex­cuse for an ex­tra tip­ple at her six­ti­eth birth­day cel­e­bra­tions on Satur­day night.

In a busy few days of preChrist­mas rac­ing, other lo­cal suc­cesses in­cluded Satur­day’s Awa­puni open hand­i­cap win by the Wayne Hil­lis-trained Per­fect Start and another at Eller­slie on Sun­day win by sta­ble­mate Let­mego. Mark Lup­ton was also among the win­ners at Eller­slie with Close Up, while another qual­ity per­for­mance came from the Jim Col­lett-trained McQueen at Tau­ranga on Fri­day.


TROPHY HAUL: Sur­pass (Opie Bos­son) adds the Waikato Times Gold Cup to his own­ers’ trophy haul.

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