News In Brief
Matamata glory for local filly
Local filly Glory Bound scored an impressive maiden victory at Matamata on Wednesday when taking out the Waikato Branch NZ Farriers Assocation (1400m) by 4-1/2 lengths.
The three-year-old daughter of Tavistock was fresh-up after her fifth-placed run in the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton in October and trainers Stephen Autridge and Kris Shailer were confident of a bold showing.
“We’ve always classified her as being pretty smart and the form around is all class,” Autridge said.
“We knew she would run really well. We probably weren’t expecting that sort of performance but that’s how good a horse she is.”
Glory Bound will now likely head to a mile at Pukekohe later this month before targeting some featured fillies races, including the Gr.2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 12, Gr.2 McKee Family Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie on March 5, and Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 19.
“The Oaks is the long-range goal and things could change getting there, but that’s our initial plan,” Autridge said.
“We considered the Desert Gold Stakes (Gr.3, 1600m) on Wellington Cup Day which would give her a look around Trentham, but saves us a trip and at this stage she looks more likely to race a day later at Pukekohe.
“She’s a nice big, strong, staying filly and just loves being in the stable. She’s got the right attitude and seems to have any amount of ability.”
Squid Game on song for Flemington
New Zealand-bred gelding Squid Game will be looking to add to his burgeoning record when he lines-up over 1400m at Flemington on Saturday.
The son of Shooting To Win was victorious in his first two starts over 1200m before running third over 1100m at Flemington on New Year’s Day and trainer Patrick Payne is expecting his charge to return to his winning ways this weekend.
"He just got into a little bit of an awkward spot at the wrong time (last start)," Payne told Racing.com.
"I think 1400m at Flemington will probably suit. It will be interesting to see how he goes, but we're pretty confident he'll run well."
Payne believes there is still plenty of improvement left in the gelding.
"I think maybe next time around he'll be a bit better,” Payne said.
“He's not going to improve this preparation; he's just maintaining okay."
Squid Game was purchased by his trainer out of Inglewood Stud’s 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $150,000.
Meanwhile, stablemate and compatriot Justacanta will also line-up over 1400m on the Flemington card.
The eight-year-old gelding boasts a terrific record at Flemington, headlined by his win in the Gr.2 Linlithgow Stakes (1200m) on Derby Day.
"He's in really good order," Payne said. "He heads down to Tasmania after this run. There are a couple of races down there that should be suitable for him.
"He's in good order, maybe he just needs one run to clean things out a little bit, but he's such an honest horse, he'll run as well as he can."
Justacanta was formerly trained in New Zealand by David Greene before joining the South Auckland barn of Shaun and Emma Clotworthy. He recorded six victories in his homeland and was runner-up to Entriviere in the Gr.3 Concorde Handicap (1200m) last year before heading to Australia.