Wellington Cup day not quite perfect
Matamata runners were unable to add to the previous weekend’s Group One victory by Hall Of Fame at the Trentham carnival, but it wasn’t through want of trying.
Local racemares Perfect Fit and Perfect Start, who are connected only by name, both finished third in their feature race assignments when things didn’t exactly go their way.
Perfect Fit, runner-up in the Railway at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, was the favourite to go one better in the second leg of the big summer sprint double but was literally on the back foot as soon as the gates opened.
She can be edgy in the barrier and this time she half-reared and missed the start slightly.
That negated any advantage of an inside draw and left Perfect Fit back past midfield.
The gaps did appear in the home straight, but horses out wide, namely South Islander Signify and Railway winner Start Wondering, had greater momentum as they fought out the finish with just a nose between them.
Perfect Fit hit the line just half a length behind in third place, a very god run in the circumstances.
Trainers Ken and Bev Kelso will now aim her at the Gr. 1 NRM Sprint at Te Rapa next month, when she will enjoy the step up to 1400 metres as well as the weightfor- age conditions.
The Auckland Cup is the next major target for the hardy Wayne Hillis-trained stayer Perfect Start, who added a third placing in the Wellington Cup to her second in the New Zealand Cup back in November.
In that first 3200-metre race on the feature staying calendar Perfect Start has anything but perfect luck and it was the same again in the Trentham two-miler on Saturday.
That didn’t stop her from trying her heart out when others were beginning to flag and went down by less than a length to the Awapuni galloper Savaria and Jacksstar.
Perfect Start apart, there was a real Matamata flavour to the result, with Savaria a daughter of champion Waikato Stud stallion Savabeel and runner-up Jacksstar ridden by local jockey Cameron Lammas.
Matamata had a strong hand in the Wellington Cup, with last year’s winner Mister Impatience fighting well for fifth after being in contention from the start and the young Pentire gelding Zambezi Warrior hinting at his future with a respectable sixth.
All three local gallopers are entered for the $500,000 Auckland Cup at Ellerslie in March.
Ellerslie will be also the major northern focus this weekend as a strong team form the Matamata training centre make their bid for the big stakes on offer at the Karaka Million meeting.
The field for the $1 million twoyear- old race will include the Te Akau runner Melody Belle and Wexford Stables’ Princess Rihanna.
Perhaps the strongest hand for the locals will be in the $250,000 Karaka 3YO Mile, where unbeaten filly Volpe Veloce and star two-year- old Heroic Valour will come up against the highly rated Cambridge gelding Sacred Elixir.
Perfect Start (far side) comes up ever so short in the Wellington Cup for third behind the Awapuni pair Savaria (middle) and Jacksstar.