Top races at mercy of weather

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DEN­NIS RYAN

Con­fu­sion and un­cer­tainty have been the over-rid­ing themes of rac­ing on both sides of the Tas­man lately as the weather and other un­con­trol­lable fac­tors have un­der­mined nor­mal busi­ness.

The tail-end of Cy­clone Deb­bie, which had dev­as­tated Queens­land and north­ern New South Wales, cut a swathe through New Zealand last week and race meet­ings didn’t es­cape. For the first time in mem­ory, ev­ery sched­uled mid­week fix­ture the length of the coun­try had to be aban­doned due to wa­ter-logged track con­di­tions.

In the north sal­va­tion came on the week­end when the re­mark­able drain­ing qual­i­ties of the sand-in­fused Te Rapa track en­abled Te Aroha’s flag­ship New Zealand Thor­ough­bred Breed­ers’ Stakes meet­ing to pro­ceed and qual­ity rac­ing en­sued.

Among those to show to ad­van­tage in the con­di­tions was Mata­mata mare Cote d’Or, who made the step up to open com­pany for an easy win in the J Swap Te Aroha Cup. Since a maiden win on her home track in De­cem­ber, Cote d’Or has been brought through the grades by Ken and Bev Kelso to now have a record of five wins from her last seven starts.

‘‘That will be it for now though,’’ says Ken. ‘‘She’s come a long way when you think she was still a maiden only four months ago, so she can go for a spell and come back in the spring.’’

A re­turn to Te Rapa at the end of the month is on the cards for the Stephen Autridge/Jamie Richards-trained Our Ab­badean, who shoul­dered 59 kilo­grams to a brave win in Rat­ing 75 grade on Satur­day. Her next mis­sion is likely to be the Gr. 2 Travis Stakes on April 29.

The Te Akau train­ing part­ners had a frus­trat­ing time of it at Rand­wick last Satur­day when their re­cent ac­qui­si­tion Chance to Dance put up a ster­ling ef­fort for sec­ond in the A$2 mil­lion Sydney Cup.

The prob­lem was that the 3200-me­tre fea­ture had been ruled a no-race well be­fore the fin­ish after Vic­to­rian stayer Al­moon­qith had frac­tured a hind leg just past the win­ning post on the first cir­cuit and with his and an­other jockey dumped on the track, stew­ards put safety con­cerns first.

How­ever, de­spite flag warn­ings and other mea­sures from mounted clerks of the course as the field headed down the back straight, not all jock­eys re­alised and six horses con­tin­ued on.

Chance to Dance, fourth placeget­ter at his last start and sub­se­quently bought for A$260,000 by John Galvin’s For­tuna Syn­di­ca­tions, was one of those and he crossed the fin­ish line in sec­ond place, split­ting the English-trained sta­ble­mates Po­lar­i­sa­tion and Penglai Pav­il­ion.

‘‘It was very frus­trat­ing how things panned out, the stake for sec­ond was $380,000 and he would have paid for him­self, but at least we know we’ve got a horse with an ex­cit­ing fu­ture,’’ com­mented Jamie Richards, who was in charge of af­fairs at Rand­wick.

Indi­ca­tions were that the Aust- ralian Turf Club would make a de­ci­sion this week to resched­ule the Sydney Cup, in which case Chance to Dance and the Mike Moroney/Pam Ger­ard-trained Mis­ter Im­pa­tience, one of the horses pulled up on Satur­day, will be starters.

‘‘Mis­ter Im­pa­tience was just warm­ing into it when he was pulled up,’’ Mike said. ‘‘Jay (Ford, jockey) thought he was trav­el­ling like a win­ner up un­til then, so I’d hope he gets an­other chance.’’

TRISH DUNELL

Cote d’Or (cen­tre) makes it five wins from her last seven starts with vic­tory in the J Swap Te Aroha Cup at Te Rapa on Satur­day.

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