Rac­ing plagued with mishaps

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

scratched due to the blood nose he suf­fered when his start­ing gate failed to open.

The two in­side gates were at fault – the other af­fected horse Aura d’Oro was cleared to start and fin­ished sec­ond when the race got un­der way – in the lat­est in­ci­dent con­cern­ing the be­lea­guered start­ing gates.

While a flat tyre could be tol­er­ated, on­go­ing start­ing gate prob­lems are an­other story and have fi­nally re­sulted in a new set of Ster­i­line gates be­ing com­mis­sioned by North­ern Race­day Ser­vices for use at Mata­mata and other tracks in the re­gion. The new gates are cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion and all go­ing to plan will be rolled out by the au­tumn.

Chas­dale was one of three late scratch­ings on Sun­day. Maiden can­di­date Battle Creek was an un­usual one, re­fus­ing to be led out of the sta­bling area to the mount­ing yard and leav­ing ste­wards with no op­tion but to put a line through his name. The third late with­drawal was if any­thing even more un­for­tu­nate, when the $1.30 favourite Per­fect Fit, such an im­pres­sive win­ner of her only pre­vi­ous start, was kicked in a leg by an­other run­ner be­hind the start­ing gates.

That filly’s with­drawal paved the way for an easy win by the Gra­ham Richard­son-trained Los Var­gos, the third lo­cally trained win­ner on the eight-race pro­gramme. The three-year-old Fast ‘N’ Fa­mous filly is putting to­gether a handy record with three wins now from seven starts.

Maiden wins were the or­der of the day for the other two lo­cals, sta­ble­mates Mary Quant and Da Shindig. As a five-year-old the lat­ter has taken time to hit his straps, but with six mi­nor plac­ings from nine pre­vi­ous at­tempts his break­through per­for­mance was thor­oughly de­served.

Even more so Mary Quant, the run­ner-up four times from her six starts be­fore Sun­day and this time very im­pres­sive in her first start be­yond 1600 me­tres. The Waikato Stud-bred and owned filly has a lot go­ing for her on the score of pedi­gree, be­ing by O’Reilly from the dual Group Onewin­ning race­mare Legs, and owes her moniker to the nam­ing skills of the late Lisa Chittick.

The orig­i­nal Mary Quant was one of the lead­ing Bri­tish-based fash­ion de­sign­ers of the 1960s and can take credit for, amongst other trends, the mini-skirt.

The ob­vi­ous lead that Lisa took in nam­ing the O’Reilly filly was Legs, whose daugh­ter will now at­tempt to put her name along­side her dam’s 2006 New Zealand Oaks win.

Wex­ford Sta­bles could well have two wor­thy can­di­dates for the Tren­tham clas­sic in March, with fel­low three-year-old filly Suf­fire stak­ing her claim with a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive win at Tau­ranga last week.

While not trained lo­cally, two other win­ners on Sun­day still had an in­ter­est­ing Mata­mata con­nec­tion.

The Stephen Marsh-trained San­ti­ago is raced by a part­ner­ship that in­cludes lo­cals Jeff and Doreen Crabb and Steph God­salve, whose par­ents Al­lan and Leonie raced San­ti­ago’s dam Kin­tyre Lil.

Tim Rogers – aka Tas­man Tim – shared the im­pres­sive fi­nal race win of Stone Dance with a large group of fam­ily and friends.

Noth­ing went to plan when Stolen Dance lined up in the Royal Stakes at Eller­slie on New Year’s Day, but her re­turn to form on the week­end had the look of a filly who will get her chance yet in black-type com­pany.

Sun­day’s rac­ing sur­face again met the ap­proval of all who took part and bodes well for the club’s big day of the year, J Swap Con­trac­tors Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes day on Satur­day week.

This week’s col­umn ends with the sad news of for­mer vet­eri­nar­ian Rob Moor­head’s sud­den death.

Rob is un­der­stood to have col­lapsed while tramp­ing in the Wairere Falls area of the Kaimai Range on Satur­day af­ter­noon and de­spite the ef­forts of emer­gency ser­vices he passed away.

Rob was a val­ued mem­ber of the Marks Ewen and As­so­ciates team when he suf­fered se­ri­ous head in­juries dur­ing the course of his ve­teri­nary rounds, but made an ad­mirable re­cov­ery.

While he was un­able to re­sume his pro­fes­sion, he re­shaped his life in a pos­i­tive man­ner and will be missed by his many friends in the Mata­mata com­mu­nity.

Photo: RACE IMAGES

IM­PRES­SIVE WIN: Mary Quant sig­nals her New Zealand Oaks prospects with an im­pres­sive home track win on Sun­day.

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