Abidewithme on song on Anzac Day
Te Rapa track.
Unlike Crimson, whose cantankerous behaviour made her a real handful at times, her daughter has been a dream to handle.
Her racing career was only months old when she won the Listed Ray Coupland Stakes at Ashburton as a spring 3-year-old and she added another Listed stakes with victory early last year in the Anniversary Handicap at Trentham.
She signed off her 4-year-old season with a midfield finish behind Lauren Tate in the Travis Stakes 12 months ago and the progress she has made in the interim was obvious when she turned the tables on that Taupiri mare last weekend.
In between times, Abidewithme had lined up in numerous high grade races, beginning with a fourth and a fifth in the Group I Makfi Challenge Stakes and Livamol Classic at the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival. Her worst placing this season was when she beat only four rivals in the Thorndon Mile at Trentham in January, but according to her trainer it’s been onwards and upwards ever since.
‘‘Now that she’s fully mature she has really thrived in the past two or three months,’’ says Bridgman. ‘‘She weighed 462 kilos before the Thorndon and when we weighed her at the end of last week she was 10 kilos heavier.
‘‘That’s after a busy programme of racing but the beauty with her is that she’s so clean-winded you don’t have to work her hard between races. She hasn’t galloped on the track since before the Breeders’ Stakes.’’
That understanding of Abidewithme, capped by Saturday’s win in her third start in as many weeks, says a lot for Bridgman’s confidence in making the right moves with the classy mare, but he’s content to deflect all the praise to her.
‘‘ We’ve never doubted her ability; it’s just a matter of a race being run truly and having things fall into place for her,’’ he says. ‘‘That’s how it unfolded at last, the breaks went her way and we saw what she can do.’’
Immediately after career win seven, all parties were in agreement that an early winter spell would follow immediately, but coowner Sir Patrick also allowed time to reflect on what next spring might hold.
A notable Anzac holiday weekend double for Matamata racemares was rounded off when the Kris and Paul Shailer- trained Lady Le Fay won the Listed Anzac 1600 Open at Awapuni on Monday.
Completing a brief but well planned autumn campaign, the promising mare stormed home for Michael Coleman to win the $50,000 race in the style of a horse going places. At her previous start the 4-year-old had scored a freshup win over 1400 metres at Te Aroha on Easter weekend and is winner of five of her 12 starts.
Earlier in the season she had put together three wins in quick succession and is now expected to be put aside with plans to aim her at major middle-distance races in the new season.
Lady Le Fay is owned by Michael Hughes, formerly of Palmerston North and now a member of the team at Waikato Stud. He paid $25,000 for her as a Karaka yearling in 2012 and races her in partnership with a group of family and friends.
Abidewithme, with jockey Michael McNab standing high in the irons, scores an appropriate Anzac Day victory in the Travis Stakes at Te Rapa.