Spring Racing First Day Review
Quality racing despite heavy track
- Unfortunately 27mm of rain fell in the days prior to the races resulting in going that started out as a Heavy11, upgraded to Heavy10 from race 6.
- Matamata trainer Stephen Autridge has based a team of Valachi Racing horses at Riccarton Park through to the NZ Cup Meeting. He prepared gaevlhouse.com NZ 1000 Guineas bound WOODCOTE LASS to take out the New Zealand Bloodstock Three-year-old. Riccarton Park’s star juvenile of last season MISS FEDERER was game in defeat with Inglewood Stud filly INTIMIDATE running third in a quality field.
- The days open sprint lost some gloss with the scratching of SWORD OF OSMAN due to the track conditions but nevertheless carded a strong field. MORWEKA ridden by Kylie Williams for Terri Rae won the race from class mare KIWI IDA and last year’s Lindauer Stewards Handicap winner PRINCE OZ.
- Southland stables provided the quinella in the Christchurch Casino Open over the 1600 metres with Christchurch Casino NZ Cup bound NOMEN LUDI beating the favourite GALWAY GARRY who was seeking a hat-trick on the course having won a double at the Grand National Festival of Racing.
- Riders wore black armbands in the ninth on the programme in memory of trainer Barbara Blackie who had passed away in her 101st year nine days earlier. Barbara’s great friend Karen Peters had her charge WHITNEY in the race but a gallant fourth was the best he could do behind QUEEN JETSUN. QUEEN JETSUJN provided Kylie Williams with her 700th win as a jockey, fittingly for West Melton trainers Tiny and Lyn Prendergast (see image) with whom she had spent most of her apprenticeship and six years employment in total.
- Commentator Matt Cross officiated at his first Riccarton Park racemeeting as the number 1 caller in Canterbury having succeeded Mark McNamara who has returned to Australia. He admirably fitted into the big shoes of Dave Clarkson, Reon Murtha, Darren Tyquin and McNamara and looks to follow in their tradition of quality service to the punting public.