Fresh from taking out a Group 2 feature barely thirty minutes earlier local rider Michael Coleman was back in the winner’s enclosure one race later when he guided Joe’s Legacy to a comprehensive victory in the Listed Matamata Veterinary Services Kaimai Stakes (2000m).
Matamata resident Coleman captured his fourth Group 2 J Swap Contractors Ltd Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) aboard Vernazza off the back of a wide trip in transit but made sure that the Jason Price-trained Joe’s Legacy never covered an ounce of extra ground as he hugged the rails throughout in the day’s middle distance highlight.
The Guillotine five-year-old relished the damp underfoot conditions as he travelled sweetly in midfield before sliding up behind the pacemakers at the 600m. Coleman asked him for an effort halfway down the straight and Joe’s Legacy shot to a clear advantage which he maintained comfortably over the final stages to record his third career victory.
Trainer Jason Price was wearing a beaming smile as he welcomed his charge back to the Matamata birdcage. “I was happy during the race as he was travelling well the whole way,” he said. “Mickey had him in a great spot and wasn’t having to ride him along in the conditions. He really tracked up in behind them and was still on the bridle. “The gap opened up for him when he went for him so it was just great.”
Price was relieved to get the victory after the horse had been unlucky in several of his recent races that include a runner-up finish in the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final (2400m) and then a similar result behind Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) contender Sherwood Forest over 2200m at Te Aroha.
“Mick Dee came back in after the Dunstan and said if he had got the gap he would have won and then the horse went another great run behind a good one at Te Aroha,” he said. “Not a lot has gone right for this horse who is one we have always rated quite highly. “He’s still getting there but to step up to the open handicap grade like he did today shows what we have got.”
Price advised that the win has now confirmed a tilt at the Group 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) for the horse where TAB bookmakers reacted by slashing his odds from $61 to $26 for the Ellerslie two-mile feature on March 7.