Matamata horses continue strong new race season
Four wins at Taupo last Friday and one apiece at Ellerslie and New Plymouth on Saturday continued a lively start to the new season for Matamata horses.
The Taupo racecourse is always a favourite target at this time of year, especially for horses with bigger targets on the horizon to kick off their spring campaigns.
Before racing began a trial for horses with black-type form took place over 1000 metres and was won by the Peter McKay-trained four-year- old Amarula.
Amarula’s first major is the $70,000 Spring Sprint at Hastings in early October, which is the anniversary of his biggest win to date, the Gr. 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas.
Matamata’s Taupo quartet opened with Sweet Leader, a Hong Kong-owned colt from the Lance O’Sullivan-Andrew Scott team. There were shades of his sire O’Reilly as he came with a brilliant finishing burst over 1000 metres. Later in the day Miss Silverback completed a double for the Wexford team, both of them ridden by Craig Grylls, whose new season has got off to a strong start with five wins.
Fame Seeker, now with Graham Richardson, made a winning start to her new campaign when getting up to beat the Danica Guy- trained Trigger in a photo-finish.
The final Matamata winner was O’Naturelle, a filly by O’Reilly from former class galloper Naturo. She had won her two lead-up trials and put in some impressive late work to post the first win of the season for champion trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards.
The next day at New Plymouth, Stephen’s brother Toby opened his new season account when he produced Irish Heartbeat for an impressive fresh-up win over another local, Antonio Lombardo. She turned in a performance that proved she had shaken off the respiratory problems that had undermined her last campaign.
Persuasive and Secret Spirit rounded off a good couple of days for Wexford Stables when they completed the quinella in the final race at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Making the most of Sam Weatherley’s apprentice claim, Persuasive got her reward to cap a string of minor placings.