Big day for locals at twilight race meeting
A 10-race programme and more than 130 starters made for a super finale for Matamata’s 2016 schedule at last Wednesday’s twilight meeting.
The locals were in the thick of the action, led by Ken and Bev Kelso with three winners on the day. First starter Princess Kereru opened their innings with an impressive rail-hugging performance, followed by regular placegetter Cote d’Or in her maiden breakthrough win and the treble was completed when Miss Horotiu went one better than her previous start second.
With a second and fifth placing from their two remaining runners, the Kelsos made no race of the trainers’ competition as they departed with the bonus of a Christmas ham courtesy of Matamata Butchery.
The owners of the Kelso trio illustrate the diversity in the people who provide the wherewithal for Matamata training operations. Princess Kereru is raced by her Auckland co-breeder Paul Humphries, Cote d’Or by leading industry identity Sir Peter Vela, and Miss Horotiu by now Singapore-based trainer Laurie Laxon.
The Te Akau pairing of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards maintained their good recent form by bookending the programme with first and last race winners. Shocking Luck – one of two winners on the day for Rich Hill Stud’s rapidly emerging sire Shocking – belied her name to begin the day the right way, and Dame Margot Fonteyn made the step up from a previous start maiden win to manage Rating 65 company just as impressively.
The High Chaparral filly was the 100th winner for former Matamata resident John Galvin when she won at New Plymouth earlier in the month and she kicked off the second century for the principal of Fortuna Syndicates in her home track win.
Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott saddled the sixth local winner in the form of Savabeel filly Save The Stars, who carries the colours of former Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum’s Vermair Syndicates.
Save The Stars was one of three winners on the day for Cameron Lammas, who not only claimed three bottles of bubbly compliments of accounting form Noble & Lee, but also the leading jockeys’ prize of the Christmas hamper donated by club stalwarts Wally and Maureen Henderson.