On track for a big fin­ish

Fi­nal re­sult de­cided in the stew­ard’s room af­ter protests

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By DEN­NIS RYAN

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.

Photo: TR­ISH DUNELL

THRILLING: Serena Miss, left, wins a thrilling 2015 J Swap Con­trac­tors Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes from Na­hema and Strata Lady.

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