Mata­mata horses con­tinue strong new race sea­son

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DEN­NIS RYAN

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.

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