Faith in moon­light vin­di­cated

Matamata Chronicle - - What’s On -

Karyn and Hamish McQuade’s faith in their lightly raced mare Un­derthe­moon­light has been well and truly vin­di­cated.

On Satur­day at Te Rapa, in just her eighth start, the four-year- old beat the open sprint­ers and lodged her bid for a shot at black-type in the Team Weal­leans Clas­sic at Tau­ranga later this month.

Un­derthe­moon­light’s ca­reer has been some­what un­ortho­dox since she be­gan rac­ing last win­ter, but the re­sults she’s now de­liv­er­ing un­der­line her abil­ity.

Af­ter plac­ings in her first two starts she leapfrogged maiden grade by win­ning a Rat­ing 65 race and more re­cently her con­nec­tions have taken a fur­ther leap by drop­ping her into open class as a one-race win­ner.

‘‘I can imag­ine peo­ple have been won­der­ing what we’re up to, but we’ve done it for a rea­son,’’ trainer Karyn McQuade, who shares own­er­ship with her hus­band, said.

‘‘We’ve al­ways rated her and be­lieve that she has the class to take on stakes com­pany, so that’s why we’ve set our sights high when plac­ing her.’’

Un­derthe­moon­light was also bred by the McQuades, by the un­der-rated stal­lion El Her­mano from the O’Reilly mare Mid­night Dip, who they bought at auc­tion sev­eral years ago for $4,500.

They had in­side knowl­edge of the fam­ily, hav­ing trained Mid­night Dip’s half-sis­ter Mid­night Kiss to win two of her four starts and fin­ish third in the New Zealand Oaks.

She was then sold to the United States where she has be­come a successful pro­ducer with two stakes per­form­ers, in­clud­ing the win­ner of the Santa Anita Derby.

Un­derthe­moon­light was spelled fol­low­ing her first win and fol­low­ing two prepara­tory runs in the au­tumn she re­turned to form when an un­lucky sec­ond at Ro­torua last month.

Her next start was in an open sprint at Eller­slie on Queen’s Birth­day week­end, when she had the race won un­til her lack of ex­pe­ri­ence caught up on her.

On the strength of that nar­row de­feat she was back at the races seven days later, start­ing as favourite at Te Rapa on Satur­day and duly de­liv­er­ing for her reg­u­lar rider Anna Jones.

‘‘We needed to run her again be­cause it was the only chance to lift her rat­ing and be able to con­sider a start at Tau­ranga,’’ Karyn said.

‘‘I only rode her once dur­ing the week when I took her for can­ter on Thurs­day morn­ing and she was so bouncy when I brought her in from the pad­dock on Fri­day af­ter­noon I knew she would be hard to beat.

‘‘The win took her rat­ing up to 78, so I’m hop­ing that’s enough to make the field for Tau­ranga.’’

Across the Tas­man for­mer Mata­mata lad Rory Hutch­ings has been mak­ing waves on the highly com­pet­i­tive Syd­ney scene.

Rory has come a long way from his early days as a nat­u­rally gifted ap­pren­tice with Wex­ford Sta­bles and this week ended his in­den­tures un­der cham­pion trainer Chris Waller with the Syd­ney ap­pren­tice jock­eys’ ti­tle in safe keep­ing.

On Satur­day at Rand­wick he took his met­ro­pol­i­tan (city) tally to 32 wins, 14 clear of the next on the ju­niors’ table, Koby Jen­nings.

His fi­nal day’s rid­ing as an ap­pren­tice was at Can­ter­bury on Mon­day and hav­ing out­rid­den his claim some months ago, he’s in a pos­i­tive frame of mind as he steps into the se­nior ranks.

PHOTO: NZ RAC­ING DESK

Un­derthe­moon­light (Anna Jones) bridges the gap to open class with a well-de­served win at Te Rapa on Satur­day.

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