Samp­son strong in cup

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE - NZ RAC­ING DESK

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.

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