Motukarara win­ner for Richard­son

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DEN­NIS RYAN

Gra­ham Richard­son has never been to Banks Penin­sula race­course, but he knows a bit more about it af­ter win­ning a race there on Sun­day.

Half an hour south-east of Christchurch at Motukarara, the Banks Penin­sula track stages rac­ing that is very much the quiet be­fore the storm of the three-day New Zealand Cup car­ni­val at Riccarton.

North­ern train­ers an­nu­ally make use of the low-key Banks Penin­sula Cup meet­ing as a pipeopener to what fol­lows at South Is­land head­quar­ters and Gra­ham Richard­son joined their ranks to good ef­fect last week­end.

His first run­ner, promis­ing maiden In­can­tes­imo, had no luck in the run­ning and had to set­tle for fourth, but sta­ble­mate Tes­sa­s­tock made no bones of it with a run­away win later in the day.

Bred in the po­tent Tav­i­s­tock­Zabeel cross, Tes­sa­s­tock has al­ways been highly rated by her con­nec­tions, so much so that she ran as a maiden in the New Zealand Oaks back in March.

In her first start since then, she cleared maiden grade by more than five lengths at Te Awa­mutu in early Septem­ber and fin­ished fifth in her only other start be­fore head­ing south.

‘‘She’s owned by Kevin Hick­man of Christchurch and I was keen to give her the chance to com­pete at the Riccarton car­ni­val,’’ Gra­ham said.

‘‘She needed an­other run be­fore­hand and as it worked out Motukarara was the best op­tion.

‘‘I still don’t know where ex­actly it is. I was busy back home with run­ners at Tau­ranga and ev­ery­thing else go­ing on and I sent my ap­pren­tice Isaac FraserHayes to take care of things down there.

‘‘It was a shame with In­can­tes­imo, she just never saw day­light, but Sam (Col­lett) rode Tes­sa­s­tock like the best horse in the race and it was good to see her win so eas­ily.’’

Tes­sa­s­tock may back up in Satur­day’s Metropoli­tan Tro­phy at Riccarton on Satur­day, with the al­ter­na­tive to wait for an­other mid­dle-dis­tance race on the fi­nal day of the car­ni­val.

‘‘A race like the New Zealand Cup is prob­a­bly too soon for her, but the trip away and fur­ther rac­ing should bring her on nicely,’’ Gra­ham added.

Week­end busi­ness closer to home cen­tred on Satur­day’s Tau­ranga meet­ing, where the head­line act in the Richard­son sta­ble, un­beaten filly Volpe Ve­loce was set to fi­nally get her three-yearold sea­son un­der way.

A start­ing gate in­ci­dent, a badly timed tem­per­a­ture spike and un­suit­able wet tracks had com­bined to play havoc with spring plans, but she fi­nally got things back on track with an em­phatic per­for­mance in an age group sprint at Tau­ranga.

Com­plet­ing a sta­ble quinella, Secret Stash fol­lowed his de­but win ear­lier in the month with an­other good ef­fort for sec­ond.

‘‘It’s been a frus­trat­ing time with Volpe Ve­loce but her own­ers have been very pa­tient,’’ Gra­ham said.

Volpe Ve­loce re­mains un­beaten as she gets her de­layed spring cam­paign un­der way with an easy win at Tau­ranga on Satur­day.

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