Mata­mata colts at war at Tren­tham

Matamata Chronicle - - Motoring - DEN­NIS RYAN

‘‘When I won that race Opie was a year old, so that gives you some idea of how long ago it was.’’

Last Satur­day’s $225,000 Levin Clas­sic was touted as a matchrace be­tween Hall Of Fame and Sav­ile Row, and so it proved as the classy Mata­mata colts fought out a thrilling fin­ish in the Tren­tham fea­ture.

At the end of the three-year- old mile a mere nose separated the pair, with Cam­bridge colt Jon Snow right in line in third place.

The hon­ours be­longed to Hall Of Fame, yet an­other big win­ner for cham­pion stal­lion Sav­abeel and a fur­ther feather in the cap of the Te Akau part­ner­ship of prin­ci­pal David El­lis, train­ers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards and re­cently reap­pointed sta­ble jockey Opie Bos­son.

Hall Of Fame had been well fan­cied in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas back in Novem­ber, and it re­mains a mys­tery as to why he failed so dis­mally in the Ric­car­ton clas­sic.

A short break ob­vi­ously did the trick and he’s got his ca­reer right back with wins in his two starts since.

Hall Of Fame, $230,000 Karaka Ready to Run Sale pur­chase, is likely to have his next start in the Waikato Guineas at Te Rapa early next month.

His per­for­mance in that 2000-me­tre race will be the de­cider on a start in the $1 mil­lion New Zealand Derby at Eller­slie a month later.

‘‘It’s al­ways to get those wins in the big races,’’ said Stephen Autridge, whose lat­est Group One train­ing win sits nicely along­side one of his big­gest as a jockey, on ill-fated cham­pion colt Al­ti­tude in the in­au­gu­ral Levin Clas­sic in 1981.

‘‘When I won that race Opie was a year old, so that gives you some idea of how long ago it was!’’ he said in ref­er­ence to the ace jockey who is also his god­son.

The Te Akau team will re­turn to Tren­tham this week­end seek­ing fur­ther big race hon­ours. Last sea­son’s glam­our colt Xtrav­a­gant will head the ac­tion as the favourite for the $250,000 Gr. 1 Tele­graph, hav­ing done every­thing asked of him since re­turn­ing from a fruit­less Mel­bourne spring cam­paign.

He won’t get it easy in the big sprint, with his ri­vals in­clud­ing the first two home in the Rail­way at Eller­slie, Wan­ganui-trained Start Won­der­ing and an­other from Mata­mata, Ken and Bev Kelso’s classy mare Per­fect Fit.

The Autridge-Richards part­ner­ship will also have two run­ners in the $250,000 Wellington Cup, Echezeaux and Zam­bezi War­rior. Once again, how­ever, they won’t be short of op­po­si­tion, with Mata­mata also rep­re­sented by last year’s win­ner Mis­ter Im­pa­tience and Peter McKay’s im­pres­sive Dun­stan Stay­ers’ Cham­pi­onship win­ner Clar­ify.

A re­peat win for Mis­ter Im­pa­tience would be fit­ting com­pen­sa­tion for Bal­ly­more Sta­bles part­ners Mike Moroney and Pam Ger­ard, who went so close with Sav­ile Row in the Levin Clas­sic.

The Kevin Hick­man-bred and owned colt could be rated un­lucky not to have taken the ma­jor hon­ours on Satur­day af­ter he and third placeget­ter en­gaged in a bump­ing duel over the fi­nal 150 me­tres.

Hav­ing also fin­ished sec­ond in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas, Sav­ile Row cer­tainly de­serves a big win and there’s no rea­son he can’t get his dues as the three­year-old fea­ture sched­ule un­folds.

SUP­PLIED

Hall Of Fame (2, Opie Bos­son) scores a nar­row win over fel­low Mata­mata colt Sav­ile Row in the Levin Clas­sic. Stephen Autridge

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