Sampson strong in cup
EVERGREEN galloper Sampson proved that age is just a number when he gave his younger rivals a solid beating in the Marton Cup (2200m) yesterday.
The nine-year-old gelding has been a regular fixture in the major staying races over several years and was rewardedwhen he launched an irresistible finishing burst to capture the Awapuni feature.
Unlucky at his previous start in the Manawatu Cup (2200m), the Howie Matthews-trained stayer received a dream run on the fence for rider Johnathan Parkes, and proved too strong in the closing stages for pacemaker China Star and Jacksstar.
Otaki-based Matthews had expressed confidence in his charge’s chances and was sporting awide grin when accepting congratulations after the race.
‘‘It’s amazing, he won well,’’ he said.
‘‘His work this week has been fantastic. He’s been up a long time, but he just keeps giving and giving.
‘‘I take my hat off to Johnathan as he looked like he was panicking swinging for home, but that little gap came, and it shows you when your luck is there, you get the run and you’re home.
‘‘Let’s hope he can produce that in the Wellington Cup.’’ RACE IMAGES PN
Matthews is looking forward to tackling the Wellington Cup (3200m), a race he placed second in last year after finishing third in 2016. ‘‘He’s an old boy but he’ll keep going,’’ he said.
‘‘As long as he wants to get up and go, I’ll be there for him.’’ Sampson is raced by Matthew’s wife Lorraine and Mrs J L Street and has won 10 of his 61 starts, for over $405,000. Among his 10 wins are the Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) and Trentham Stakes (2100m).
Sampson is now rated an $8 third favourite for the Wellington Cup.
Sampson wins the Marton Cup at Awapuni yesterday.