Mata­mata prospects on Cup day

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DEN­NIS RYAN

This week’s Chron­i­cle rac­ing page will be one of look­ing for­ward rather than the usual fare re­view­ing events and achieve­ments of days re­cently passed.

That’s all be­cause of the weather that hit last week­end and brought about the reschedul­ing of one of the biggest days on the north­ern cal­en­dar, Auck­land Cup day at Eller­slie. In­stead of be­ing run last Satur­day, the 2017 Cup day pro­gramme is ideally placed, for the sake of the mid­week Chron­i­cle, on Thurs­day.

The date apart, the re­vamped card will com­prise seven races in­stead of the orig­i­nal 10, al­low­ing them to fit into a twi­light sched­ule start­ing just af­ter three o’clock and end­ing at seven o’clock. The head­line race at 6.21pm is the $500,000 Bar­foot & Thomp­son Auck­land Cup which has three Mata­mata-trained run­ners, the Mike Moroney/Pam Ger­ard­trained Mis­ter Im­pa­tience, Lance O’Sul­li­van and An­drew Scott’s Gen­til Ton­ton and the Wayne Hil­lis-trained Per­fect Start.

Mis­ter Im­pa­tience, the win­ner of last year’s Welling­ton Cup and third in his fi­nal lead-up, the Avon­dale Gold Cup, has the best form cre­den­tials of the Mata­mata trio. Per­fect Start has two un­placed runs head­ing into her ma­jor tar­get, but plac­ings this sea­son in both the New Zealand and Welling­ton Cups are a bet­ter mea­sure of her prospects.

Gen­til Ton­ton, who came to Wex­ford Sta­bles via ear­lier rac­ing in Europe and Hong Kong, is one horse who should have no prob- lem with the con­di­tions if the Eller­slie track doesn’t im­prove sig­nif­i­cantly from its week­end drench­ing. His re­cent form might not read the best, but a fourth plac­ing in the New Zealand Cup and sec­ond in last year’s Ro­torua Cup are proof of his abil­ity on the right day.

Mata­mata’s strong­est prospects for any of the Eller­slie Group One fea­tures are in the $200,000 Sis­tema Stakes for twoyear-olds. From Te Akau come the last-start win­ners Gold Fever (Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes) and Melody Belle (Karaka Mil­lion), while Wex­ford is also dou­ble­handed with Reid & Har­ri­son Slip­per win­ner Sum­mer Pas­sage and Mata­mata Breed­ers’ Stakes fourth Princess Ri­hanna.

Af­ter ob­serv­ing all four in their fi­nal se­ri­ous work at the train­ing track on Monday morn­ing, I have to say that be­tween them they make a for­mi­da­ble con­tin­gent for the big event.

Mata­mata has just one starter in the third Eller­slie Group One, the $200,000 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes, and com­plet­ing their big hand it’s Wex­ford Sta­bles run­ner Sound Propo­si­tion.

In three starts this prep- ara­tion, Sound Propo­si­tion has looked noth­ing like the horse that won the Gr. 1 Easter Stakes last au­tumn and in fact suf­fered an atrial fib­ril­la­tion in his most re­cent start.

That’s a con­di­tion that horses can bounce through with the ap­pro­pri­ate treat­ment and de­spite his patchy lead-up Sound Propo­si­tion isn’t nec­es­sar­ily out of play here.

Sum­mer Pas­sage is one of a strong four-horse con­tin­gent from Mata­mata lin­ing up in the Gr. 1 Sis­tema Stakes on the resched­uled Auck­land Cup day pro­gramme.

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