Aotearower wins on heavy ground

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DEN­NIS RYAN

Ken and Bev Kelso took a gam­ble and came up smil­ing when Aotearower landed a sur­prise win at Ro­torua on Satur­day.

It was only through a lack of op­tions that the de­ci­sion was made to line Aotearower up on a track con­sid­ered too heavy for an op­ti­mum per­for­mance. The con­vinc­ing win over fel­low Mata­mata race­mares Beauty’s Rose and Good Lookin’ Gal was a bonus in more than ways than one.

Be­fore­hand her owner Sir Pa­trick Ho­gan had been con­sid­er­ing a mat­ing with one of his Cam­bridge Stud stal­lions, which would mean her rac­ing ca­reer would last no more than 120 days after con­cep­tion.

But given her im­pres­sive re­turn to form, those plans have been de­ferred un­til next spring and the Kel­sos can now look for­ward to a full sea­son of rac­ing with the five-year-old.

‘‘Pa­trick was keen to get her in foal but after what we saw on Satur­day, he’s changed his mind and put that plan on hold,’’ Ken Kelso said. ‘‘That will give us a clean run hope­fully at some nice races com­ing up.

‘‘We ran her on Satur­day with­out a trial, just a cou­ple of jumpouts, and there weren’t any bet­ter op­tions com­ing up, so it was a pleas­ant sur­prise to see what she did.

‘‘Talk­ing to Mickey (Cole­man) af­ter­wards, he said the way she feels and what she had shown us ear­lier in her ca­reer, she could be ca­pa­ble of win­ning a Group Three race.

‘‘We’re cer­tainly happy to know she’ll con­tinue to race on through the sea­son. That was her fourth win from less than 20 starts and like a lot of mares she’s taken a while to ma­ture. Now that she has we might be in for a good sea­son with her.’’

A fea­ture race win would not only boost Aotearower’s brood- mare value but also pro­vide fur­ther thrills for the group who race her in part­ner­ship with Sir Pa­trick and Lady Ho­gan. They in­clude Olympic row­ing cham­pi­ons Hamish Bond and Eric Mur­ray – hence the name – as well as a large num­ber of first-time own­ers un­der the NZ Thor­ough­bred Rac­ing So­cial Rac­ing ini­tia­tive.

Aotearower was the sec­ond of two Mata­mata win­ners at Ro­torua after the Lance O’Sul­li­van/ Andrew Scott-trained Keep­her­in­mind had scored ear­lier in the day. Down south at the Ash­bur­ton meet­ing another from Wex­ford, Cha Siu Bao, kicked off the day with an im­pres­sive win, while Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards added a dou­ble with Tavis Star and Im­perium.

The two lo­cal sta­bles didn’t en­joy quite the same luck in the Ash­bur­ton fea­ture, the Barneswood Farm Stakes, but there was still en­cour­age­ment to be taken from the sec­ond plac­ing by Te Akau colt Heroic Valour.

His mis­sion re­mains the New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Ric­car­ton early next month, for which Cha Siu Bao also boosted his prospects with his mi­nor grade win. The lat­ter’s sta­ble­mate Sweet Leader was beaten for the first time in his brief ca­reer when only fifth in the Barneswood, but the 2000 Guineas re­mains on his radar with the likely ad­di­tion of blink­ers to sharpen his game.

NZ RAC­ING DESK

Aotearower (cen­tre) pow­ers to a sur­prise win at Ro­torua on Satur­day.

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