Rich Hill Stud a Cup win­ner

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - DEN­NIS RYAN

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.’’

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