Rich Hill Stud a Cup winner
An amazing double between Flemington last Tuesday and Riccarton on Saturday has put the global spotlight on Matamata thoroughbred nursery Rich Hill Stud and its veteran stallion Pentire.
Prince of Penzance’s Melbourne Cup was more than a fairy tale result for jockey Michelle Payne, the first female to win the famous race, and her Down syndrome brother strapped the horse.
Prince of Penzance was also the first New Zealand-bred stayer in eight years to win the Melbourne Cup and only the second ever bred in the Matamata district. The first was 1960 winner Hi Jinx who was bred by Ellie Case, the grandmother of Mike Moroney, who saddled up Brew for victory in 2000.
The celebrations at Rich Hill Stud were revived on Saturday
Stevie, who when Xtravagant, a three-year-old colt by Pentire and prepared by Te Akau Racing’s Matamatabased duo Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, scored a stunning win in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas.
Rich Hill Stud managing director John Thompson was still beaming when the Chronicle visited his Landsdowne Rd property on Monday morning.
‘‘The Melbourne Cup result was simply fantastic and then to see Xtravagant run away with the 2000 Guineas in race record time – it really doesn’t get better than that,’’ he said.
‘‘The Melbourne Cup has become a truly international event and to think that horses from New Zealand can still match it with the world’s best stayers. And it wasn’t only about one horse bred in this district either.
‘‘The third placegetter, Criterion, was foaled and reared at Blandford Lodge, so when you think about it that’s phenomenal on an international scale.’’
Thompson’s coup de grace came at Riccarton on Saturday with Xtravagant’s eight and a half-length win in the first Group One classic of the domestic season.
‘‘That capped a week we’ll never forget,’’ Thompson said. ‘‘To think we set up here in 1994 as a 100-acre agistment operation and Pentire became our foundation stallion three years later.’’