Con­trast­ing for­tunes mark week­end rac­ing

Matamata Chronicle - - What’s On - DEN­NIS RYAN

Rac­ing last week­end had one com­mon thread for two Mata­mata sta­bles – the va­garies that so of­ten pro­vide hugely con­trast­ing swings in for­tune when it comes to race­horses and the big plans around them.

Dan­ica Guy headed to Tren­tham on Fri­day with high hopes that her lat­est sta­ble star Capella could de­liver as the favourite for the week­end’s big­gest race, the $70,000 Desert Gold Stakes.

But by mid­day Satur­day those in­ten­tions were out the win­dow due to a hoof prob­lem that forced Dan­ica to scratch her highly rated filly.

Capella was one of seven Mata­mata-trained run­ners in the big event and it was left to an­other of their num­ber, the Stephen Autridge/Jamie Richards-trained Duchess Kate to carry the day, with the Gra­ham Richard­son pair Strada Cavallo and Lauber­horn close up in third and fourth place.

Less than half an hour be­fore Capella’s trainer had been hop­ing to cheer her filly home at Tren­tham, the sta­ble’s star sprinter In Style had bounced back to form on her home track with an im­pres­sive per­for­mance in the Nor­wood Farm Ma­chin­ery Cen­tre 1200.

This was more than a con­so­la­tion prize. It ended a frus­trat­ing time with last year’s Rail­way Stakes win­ner, who had been in­jured in her next start af­ter that land­mark win and then her trans- fer to Mel­bourne for the spring car­ni­val had been an ex­er­cise in frus­tra­tion.

The same theme con­tin­ued when In Style re­turned to the Guy sta­ble, with a wet track deny­ing her the op­por­tu­nity to de­fend her Rail­way ti­tle and an­other rain af­fected track un­der­min­ing her chances in the Tele­graph at Tren­tham.

Last Satur­day’s home track sprint pre­sented In Style with the per­fect plat­form to re­dis­cover her best form and she de­liv­ered in man­ner be­fit­ting her name to lead home a Mata­mata tri­fecta com­pleted by Ir­ish Moon and An­to­nio Lom­bardo as well as round off a tre­ble for her rider Craig Grylls.

Mean­while, the AutridgeRichards sta­ble had ex­pe­ri­enced its own set of fluc­tu­at­ing for­tunes on Satur­day.

Their day had be­gun well with wins in the first two races at Tren­tham thanks to the smart fouryear-old Smash­ing and first starter Heroic Val­our. But back at home base shortly af­ter the south­ern dou­ble their lead­ing light in the two-year-old event, un­beaten filly Sassy ‘N’ Smart threw her­self back­wards when be­ing loaded in the bar­rier and had to be scratched.

That mis­be­haviour means she has to trial be­fore be­ing cleared to race again, but con­nec­tions have still not given up hope of get­ting the tal­ented ju­ve­nile to the Gr. 2 J Swap Con­trac­tors Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes on Fe­bru­ary 27.

Sta­ble­mate Duchess Kate’s Desert Gold Stakes vic­tory made her the lat­est black type win­ner for head­lin­ing Waikato Stud stal­lion Sav­abeel, whose prog­eny proved so pop­u­lar at last week’s vi­brant Karaka year­ling sales.

Sav­abeel was the sire of four of the top six lots sold at the Premier Sale and was the main­stay in Waikato Stud achiev­ing its third con­sec­u­tive lead­ing ven­dor ac­co­lade. The Mata­mata farm’s best sin­gle re­turn was $775,000 for a brother to the high class race­mare Di­ademe, which was also the most ex­pen­sive lot pur­chased by Te Akau Rac­ing’s David El­lis, who once again led the buy­ers’ ta­ble with 17 year­lings to­tal­ing $4,775,000.

Duchess Kate (Matt Cameron) posts an­other big win for train­ers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards in the $70,000 Desert Gold Stakes.

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