Consolation for loss of Matamata Cup
As far as Karyn and Hamish McQuade are concerned, one out of two wasn’t a bad result on a weekend that, at least on the local scene, had been wrecked by the weather.
The McQuades had two feature race runners engaged in major races between the local scene and at Hawera.
Kindaleica was the stable hope in the $50,000 Team Wealleans Matamata Cup, while Underthemoonlight was heading south for the $80,000 Rich Hill Stud Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes.
Hopes that Kindaleica might go one better than his close second in last year’s Matamata Cup were thwarted by the weather.
On Friday the prolonged wet spell left Matamata Racing Club officials with no option but to cancel their second biggest raceday of the season.
All was not lost for the McQuades, however, as Underthemoonlight made the most of her opportunity with an eight-length win in the big fillies’ and mares’ race at Hawera.
Despite a record of just two wins from 14 starts, she was one of the leading prospects due mainly to a formline that also included five second placings and a number of performances that suggested she was well up to the strong opposition.
One of Underthemoonlight’s unluckiest runs was her close fourth in the $100,000 Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa in August, when she was blocked all the way up the straight and should have finished at least second.
This time there were no such issues as Awapuni apprentice Timothy Johnson was presented with a saloon passage while other runners went wide on the home turn and the little bay mare scooted through to score by six lengths.
Slice Of Class did best of the others, while another from Matamata, the Karen Fursdon-trained Rocknrolla, made a big run from the rear to finish third.
The McQuades also bred Underthemoonlight, putting their O’Reilly mare Midnight Dip to El Hermano, an unraced son of Pins and a brother to the Cox Plate winner El Segundo, both of which were bred at the Brown family’s Ancroft Stud.
Now that Underthemoonlight has made her black-type breakthrough, she may get the chance to add another this Saturday in the Gr. 3 Lion Red Plate at Rotorua.
‘‘We had intended turning her out after Hawera but with the weather like it is and the way she’s come through the weekend, we might just give her one more,’’ Karyn McQuade said. ’’It was a pity to miss the Matamata Cup with Kindaleica, but another race, the Rotorua Plate, looks the obvi- ous next start for him.’’
The decision late Friday to abandon the Matamata Cup meeting was sadly unavoidable after continual rain – no less than 130mms over the preceding 12 days – had drenched the course. Ironically, raceday itself was the first day in two and a half weeks that no rain fell, but the damage had been done.
Underthemoonlight races away with the Rich Hill Stud Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes at Hawera on Saturday