Contrasting fortunes mark weekend racing
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.