On track for a big finish
Final result decided in the steward’s room after protests
Fun and fashion in the field mixed with excitement and controversy on the track to make Saturday’s J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ Stakes race meeting another memorable event.
The day’s $100,000 2-year-old filly feature provided a grandstand finish as the hometown favourite Strata Lady led the field into the home straight only to be run down late by Serena Miss and Nahema. Ultimately, however, the result was decided in the stewards’ room after the connections of the runner-up Nahema lodged a protest alleging interference from the winner in the final stages.
With a mere nose separating the first two finishers, it was going to be a close call whether the interference suffered by Nahema would force the judicial officials to reverse the placings, but after a protracted inquiry the result across the line stood.
Serena Miss is the first Matamata Breeders’ Stakes winner prepared by the Hamilton husband-and-wife partnership of Graeme and Debbie Rogerson, who have dominated two-year-old racing this season.
Complementing the quality racing on offer, Saturday’s track surface was described as perfect by all involved, showing the obvious benefits of the recently commissioned irrigation system.
That resulted in the fastest time in nearly 20 years for the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes and a new 1200-metre track record of 1: 08.14 set by 2013 Breeders’ Stakes winner Recite in her spectacular Waikato Stud 1200 victory.
Once again a large crowd that flocked to the course from near and far enjoyed the biggest event on the local racing calendar and at the end of the day betting figures compared very favourably with past years. Off the track, Cambridge woman Alisha Maxwell took away the supreme Tuscany Road fashion prize, while local resident Craig Osbaldiston’s name was drawn from the barrel and although he was unable to select the right envelope and claim the new Ford utility on offer, he still went home as the winner of a flat screen television.
THRILLING: Serena Miss, left, wins a thrilling 2015 J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ Stakes from Nahema and Strata Lady.