With the onset of spring and summer racing just around the corner, you can hear the excitement in the voice of trainer Graham Richardson as he talks about the prospects his Matamata stable has for the new season.
Richardson and training partner Rogan Norvall will unleash several unraced runners at the Te Rapa trials on Monday along with a potential spring star in Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) winner Bonny Lass.
The three-year-old filly, who was placed in both of New Zealand’s juvenile Group One features last season, will tackle the open class horses over 1050m at Te Rapa, with Richardson keen to see her have a good day out without being fully extended.
“She (Bonny Lass) has been working along steadily and is ready for a nice quiet hit-out on Monday,” he said.
“I feel she has strengthened up nicely over her winter break and she is ready for a trial now.
“She was up there with the best two-year-olds last season, so it would be good to see her take the next step as we have some big plans for her this season.
“Safely through her trial she will probably go to a racemeeting for a day out and then we will get her ready for her fresh-up run which will be in the Gold Trail Stakes (Group 3, 1200m) at Hastings next month.
“Her attitude has been spot on and she had a good run along last week during trackwork, so she is ready for a trial now.
“If everything goes to plan then we will be looking to get her to Riccarton for the New Zealand 1000 Guineas (Group 1, 1600m) in November, but there is plenty of water to go under the bridge before then.”
Richardson also had his ownership hat on when talking about exciting spring prospects with Defibrillate, the seven-year-old gelding by Shocking he owns with a group that includes former New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum and fellow trainer Lance O’Sullivan, getting ready to commence a campaign that has the major Victorian Cup races as his main targets.
“Patrick Payne has done a wonderful job with Defibrillate and he gave him his first trial at Cranbourne during the week,” Richardson said.
“I haven’t spoken to Paddy since then, but I think he will have another trial somewhere before he kicks off.
“We have the Melbourne Spring carnival in mind for him with the Caulfield (Group 1, 2400m) and Melbourne Cups (Group 1, 3200m) as the main aim.
“He has won seven races over there and he deserves his shot at those big ones, based on his performances last year.”
Richardson also reported that stable star Tiptronic was due home on Sunday night from his Queensland base where he has been spelling and would go straight into work with the summer middle distance weight-for-age features his main targets again this season.