Filly carries on her winning way
Boxing Day seems a long time ago as we look back on the start of the festive season of racing, but it still held numerous highlights for Matamata horses.
Top billing must go to the super-talented filly Volpe Veloce, who added another panel to her picket-fence formline by winning the $100,000 Eight Carat Classic on the first day of the Ellerslie carnival.
Two weeks after winning the Eulogy Stakes at Awapuni, the Graham Richardson-trained filly was facing a stronger Group Two field, but still proved dominant as she took her unbeaten sequence to six.
Her winning run had begun as an autumn two-year-old on her home track and continued with a stakes win in her second and last race of the season.
The start of her three-year- old campaign proved anything but plain sailing with a series of setbacks, but the classy bay finally found her winning touch again in October and has continued undefeated.
Having missed her chance at a Group One race in the spring, there was some speculation that she might step up to elite grade in this Saturday’s Levin Classic at Trentham.
Connections were not keen to send Volpe Veloce on a big trip south just yet, and she will instead run next in the $250,000 Karaka 3YO Mile at Ellerslie at the end of the month before stepping up to 2000 metres in the Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic at Te Rapa.
All going to plan, then the call will have to be made whether to target the country’s richest classic, the $1 million Vodafone New Zealand Derby in early March at Ellerslie, or concentrate on the fillies’ equivalent, the $300,000 Wellfield New Zealand Oaks at Trentham.
Boxing Day at Ellerslie also marked a successful start to the newly formed trainer-jockey partnership of Stephen Autridge, Jamie Richards and Opie Bosson.
After a Hong Kong stint when opportunities to really make his mark were lacking, Opie returned to New Zealand and in late December it was announced that he would be resuming his role of several years ago as stable rider for Te Akau Racing.
It took little time for him to reassert his prowess, with a backto- back double on Te Akau runners Hall Of Fame and Splurge on the opening day of the Ellerslie carnival.
The Ellerslie action continued on New Year’s Day, where the Sistema Railway was the centrepiece.
Hopes were high that the Ken and Bev Kelso-trained Perfect Fit could add the big sprint to her record, but that confidence was severely dampened by a wide draw.
Regular rider Michael Coleman came up with a ride that compensated for any disadvantage, but on the day there was one better, Wanganui galloper Start Wondering, and Perfect Fit had to settle for second.
Matamata still got its share of the action, however, with the Peter McKay-trained, Shaun McKay-ridden Clarify charging away with the $80,000 Dunstan Stayers’ Championship Final, and Graham Richardson chiming in with a win to his very promising mare Wild Flower in the last race of the carnival.
Volpe Veloce takes her unbeaten record to six with victory in the Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.