News & Events
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Acceptances for Matamata, Sunday 8 February
04 Feb 2015

We are racing here at Matamata this Sunday 8 February.


First race is at 1.30 pm and the last of 8 races at 5.38 pm.

Come and enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon at the races.

Meeting news can be found on NZTR's website, following this link

Acceptances are here: Acceptances 080215 for Matamata.pdf

See you here!


Hospitality Packages for Matamata Breeders' Stakes Saturday 21 February 2015
16 Jan 2015
Tuscany Road Fashion in the Field Saturday 21 February 2015
16 Jan 2015
15 Jan 2015

We have booked a glorious day full of sunshine for tomorrow's racemeeting here at Matamata, our first for 2015!

First race is at 12.43 pm and the last of the 9-race programme is at 5.20 pm.

Latest update at 9.30 am this morning, going is Dead4 and the weather is fine.  For the latest information, check out


Here is our racebook for tomorrow: Acceptances for Matamata 17.12.14.pdf

As it is school holidays, we have a celebration bouncy castle with slide for the kids.

Two Tones Catering will be selling their delicious cafe temptations in the Curragh Lounge.

Espresso To Go will be in their usual spot plus Mr Whippy and Thai Royale Matamata will be here on-course.

See you here tomorrow!

Racing at Matamata Tomorrow!
16 Dec 2014

Matamata is racing tomorrow!

Come and join us for our ever-so-popular Twilight Christmas at the Races race meeting, proudly supported by Noble & Lee, tomorrow.

First race 3.15 pm / Last race 7.33 pm / Gates Open 10 am (to allow people to set up their car boot party areas) / Functions Open at 2.30 pm

For the latest information go to NZTR's Meeting News,

For tomorrow's racebook click here, Racebook for 17.12.14.pdf

Please remember to support our sponsors, as they do support us.  Tomorrow's sponsors are Noble & Lee Chartered Accountants, Bell & Graham Lawyers, Elders Livestock Matamata, Matamata Veterinary Services Limited, Comag Limited, Matamata Tyre Services, Stihl Shop Matamata and Pertab Bloodstock Limited.

See you tomorrow!

Acceptances for Matamata, Wednesday 17 December
13 Dec 2014

Acceptances were released this morning for our Twilight Christmas at the Races race meeting, proudly supported by Noble & Lee, next Wednesday 17 December.

Acceptances for Matamata 17.12.14.pdf

For meeting news click here

Nominations for Wednesday 17 December
12 Dec 2014

Nominations were released today for our Twilight Christmas at the Races race meeting, proudly supported by Noble & Lee, next Wednesday 17 December.

Nominations for Matamata 17.12.14.pdf

For meeting news click here

Acceptances close at 10 am tomorrow.

Appeal cuts Walker ban: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Fri, 12 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014
Disgraced jockey David Walker has had his disqualification for breaching two betting rules and one serious racing offence reduced on appeal from seven years to five and a half years.

Walker's appeal was based on information that was not provided when the Judicial Control Authority made its original decision.

The appeals tribunal headed by Sir Bruce Robertson said Walker's lay advocate Barry Hart provided information at the appeal which would have certainly contributed to some allowances being made in the penalty if the original committee had those details.

Had that information been provided at the time, including character references and the fact that the disqualification “has and will seriously impact on his ability to earn an income over a lengthy period,” some allowance would surely have been made.

The tribunal did not agree with Hart, who submitted Walker's penalty was manifestly excessive and should be reduced to just eight months' disqualification.

The appeals tribunal made no alteration to the one-year suspension Walker was given for breaching the betting rule and it will be served concurrently with his five and a half year ban, effective from September 19.

New thoroughbred book to be released: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Fri, 12 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014An in-depth look at the New Zealand breeding industry is the focus of a new thoroughbred book.

Where Champions Are Born is the work of journalist, broadcaster and New Zealand Racing Desk contributor Aidan Rodley and will be launched at a function at the Te Rapa racecourse on Friday, December 19 at 5.30pm. 

The hardcover 216-page book is a study of 17 leading stud farms and features the photography of Trish Dunell with a foreword from New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum.

O'Sullivan flying high with Sprint prospect Aerovelocity: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Fri, 12 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014

Aerovelocity (pink blinkers) gives Paul O'Sullivan a leading chance in Sunday's Hong Kong Sprint.
Aerovelocity (pink blinkers) gives Paul O'Sullivan a leading chance in Sunday's Hong Kong Sprint.

The rapid rise of leading Longines Hong Kong Sprint chance Aerovelocity has coincided with the resurgence of Paul O'Sullivan's stable and victory on Sunday on Hong Kong International Day would thrust the Kiwi trainer even further into the limelight.

His stable numbers dwindling, O'Sullivan took stock at the beginning of last term and a new assistant trainer arrived in the form of Pierre Ng, son of former trainer Peter Ng, before Aerovelocity rattled off five straight wins and went from Class Three to Class One.

O'Sullivan's stable numbers have nearly doubled since Aerovelocity arrived in his yard and the son of Pins took another step with a dramatic victory in the Gr. 2 Premier Bowl first-up. The come-from-behind victory took the six-year-old's rating to 118 and assured him of a start in the Hong Kong Sprint.

Aerovelocity trailed the field home three weeks ago when 14th in the Hong Kong Sprint Trial but was denied clear-running for much of the straight in an incident-packed race and punters have been quick to dismiss the run, backing the six-year-old gelding into $5.50 favourite. 

"We've got 51 horses in work and two seasons ago we had 26," said O'Sullivan, who has endured some lean returns in recent seasons. "We've been below mid-table for a few years now, but I would like to think we should be in the top 10.

"We looked at our horses' diets, work routines, our method ... everything, and made the necessary changes.

"Pierre has been tremendous - he has just brought everyone together. A horse like Aerovelocity certainly helps too.

"The tide goes in and out here, but when you have horses like him running consistently throughout the season, then more people are going to come to you with horses."

Aerovelocity has drawn barrier seven in Sunday's sprint feature and champion jockey Zac Purton will continue his association with the talented speedster. 

"I’m happy with that gate," O'Sullivan said. "He should be able to get a nice run from there. I’d rather have drawn seven than one – Buffering will go forward and he’s a good one to follow.”

An 11-time champion trainer in New Zealand, O'Sullivan has won numerous majors around the world, including the Japan Cup with Horlicks and the Cox Plate with Surfers Paradise, when training in partnership with his father Dave. 

Having arrived in Hong Kong in 2004, the 55-year-old has prepared a Hong Kong Derby winner in Vital King and a Stewards’ Cup winner in Fellowship, but should Aerovelocity salute in Sunday's International Sprint, you get a sense it will be O'Sullivan's proudest moment to date.

TiES Launches Video for Retired Thoroughbreds: NZTR Fri, 12 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014
Derby winner St Reims dies: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Fri, 12 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014

St Reims powers to victory in the 2002 New Zealand Derby.
St Reims powers to victory in the 2002 New Zealand Derby.

St Reims, a $1 million Karaka yearling and winner of the New Zealand Derby and Zabeel Classic, has died at the age of 15.

The Cambridge Stud-bred son of Zabeel was trained by Chris McNab during a four-season career, when his trademark style was to lead and maintain a relentless gallop that netted 11 wins from 36 starts. His maiden win at his fifth start was followed immediately by victory in the Gr. 2 Avondale Guineas and Gr. 1 New Zealand Derby, run at Ellerslie then on Boxing Day.

Placings were St Reims’ lot in his second season, but he bounced back to win five of his 10 starts at five years, when his affinity with the Ellerslie track was underlined by wins in the Gr. 1 Zabeel Classic, Gr. 2 Counties Cup and Gr. 3 Lindauer Stakes. It took a rising star in Xcellent, that season’s New Zealand Derby winner and receiving five kilograms under the weight-for-scale, to deny a fourth major Ellerslie success in the Gr. 1 Second Century Stakes.

St Reims had one final limited campaign as a spring six-year-old, when he scored once before being retired to stud. From 226 foals sired over five seasons, he never left one to match, with his best performers among 37 individual winners the stakes-placed Delecta Dreams and Astute And Agile.  

St Reims spent his final years at Erewhon Station in the Canterbury back-country, where he was the successor to another son of Zabeel in Zed. That young stallion’s stay at Erewhon ended after his early crop progeny hit their straps with maturity and he resumed duties at Grangewilliam Stud.

There was no such fairytale outcome for St Reims, however. As noted by Queensland-based Rob McAnulty, who selected him as a yearling and headed the syndicate that raced him,  chronic foot problems spelt an early end.

“He had been living a great life at Erewhon and they did all they could to help his condition, but he ended up with rotating pedal bone and there was no option but to put Harry down,” McAnulty told

“It was a humane end to his life and he’s now buried on top of a glacial deposit hill that overlooks the Rangitata River valley with the Southern Alps behind. He was a mighty racehorse and he deserves that respect.”

Abidewithme a strong chance in Cal Isuzu: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Thu, 11 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014
Abidewithme will contest Saturday's Gr. 2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa as something of a tune-up for the Gr. 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, but that doesn't mean she won't be winning.

That's the word from her Matamata trainer Jason Bridgman, who is thrilled with the five-year-old Redoute's Choice mare ahead of the weight-for-age fillies and mares' feature.

Much of Bridgman's confidence ahead of the weekend stems from a dashing trial at Cambridge last week, when Abidewithme went to the line under a strong hold from stable rider Matthew Cameron a neck behind last year's Cal Isuzu Stakes winner Diademe.

"That was probably the most impressive she's ever trialled," Bridgman said. "She loves hard ground and that's what she got at Cambridge. I just hope she gets a Good3 track at Te Rapa this weekend. Te Rapa is not a track she's had much luck on. It's a track you can't afford to get held up at because the boat sails pretty quickly there."

A winner of six of her 15 starts, Abidewithme has finished eighth in the Gr. 2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic and seventh in the Gr. 2 Travis Stakes in her previous two Te Rapa starts.

In three starts this preparation, she has finished fourth in the Gr. 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes at Hastings, fifth in the Gr. 1 Livamol Classic at Hastings and second in the Gr. 3 Sofitel Stakes at Ellerslie last month.

"She's done really well in the interim. Normally a mare doesn't need a lot, but I gave her that quiet trial at Cambridge more to have her ready for the Zabeel Classic than for this one," Bridgman said.

"I didn't want a flattening run at Te Rapa 13 days before the Zabeel Classic and that trial should have topped her off nicely. She should go a bold race in a fresh state. I expect her to be a winning chance - they will know she's in there anyway."

Meanwhile, Bridgman is hoping for a little easing of the track at Awapuni for his Gr. 3 Eulogy Stakes hopeful No Tricks. 

The Savabeel filly is having just her fourth start on Saturday, having won and twice placed so far, but she was just a neck from Abidewithme at the trials and Bridgman is optimistic she can be competitive at Awapuni.

"If O'Marilyn is on her A-game, we'd all be running for second and third. It's a strong Eulogy field this year and this will have her ready for the Ellerslie carnival at the end of the month," Bridgman said.

Pure Champion up for Awapuni challenge: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Thu, 11 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014Pure Champion will return to the Central Districts on Saturday week for the Gr. 3 Manawatu Challenge Stakes at Awapuni.

The former Hong Kong galloper has taken no harm from his unplaced run last time out in the Gr. 1 Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham.

“He was only about two and a half lengths from the winner after overdoing things in front,” co-trainer Andrew Scott said. “We’re hoping he’ll improve rapidly.

“We’re also taking the two-year-old Strata Lady down there and looking forward to her racing. She won impressively at the Rotorua trials.”

Matamata trainers spread three-year-old forces: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Thu, 11 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott will have fillies chasing black type at Awapuni on Saturday and three-year-olds at two other venues considered to be future stakes contenders. 

Orange Peel and Attention Seeker will go head to head in the Gr. 3 Lawnmaster Eulogy Stakes while Suffire will strive to break her maiden at Tauranga tomorrow and likewise Mary Quant at Ellerslie on Sunday.

“The two fillies are going to Awapuni in good form and we’re happy with both of them,” Andrew Scott said. “Saturday will give us a good guide as to whether they can run a bit further. They might have their work cut out to beat O’Marilyn if she’s back on her game, but our two are in good condition.

“Orange Peel is out of a Canny Lad mare, but she’s by Duke Of Marmalade and they can stay a bit. The way she ran the 1400 metres out last start indicated she’ll get a mile.

“Attention Seeker is by Fast ‘N’ Famous and her dam won the Australian Oaks so she’s got a pedigree to suggest she can stick on.”

Both fillies are last-start winners while Suffire looks on the verge of a breakthrough and she will get her chance in the Metalcraft Roofing 1600 at Tauranga tomorrow.

“We were really pleased with her run at Te Rapa as she had to do a bit of work to get outside the leader,” Scott said.

Suffire is Group One nominated for both the TV3 New Zealand Derby and the Wellfield New Zealand Oaks, as is Mary Quant who is on the ballot at Tauranga but in Sunday’s Lindsay Racing Mile at Ellerslie.

“If we can get them out of maidens we’ll be looking at the better races for both of them,” Scott said.
Noble sets stakes targets for fillies: NZ Racing Desk, The Informant Wed, 10 Dec 2014
12 Dec 2014Matamata trainer Lance Noble has black-type ambitions for a gifted pair of last-start maiden winners.

The three-year-olds Bohemian Lily and Realta both opened their accounts at Te Rapa last month and promise to handle the step up to feature races.

Well-related O’Reilly filly Bohemian Lily was successful over 1400 metres at her fourth appearance and she will step up to a mile in Saturday’s Gr. 3 Lawn Master Eulogy Stakes at Awapuni.

“It fits in nicely and I think the further she goes the better and the Oaks distance should be spot on for her later,” Noble said.

The Kevin Hickman-owned three-year-old is a sister to the dual Group One Australian Derby and Guineas winner Shamrocker and a half-sister to the Gr. 3 Sunline Vase winner and Gr. 1 New Zealand Oaks placegetter Rock Diva.

“She’s always showed plenty of ability, but she’s needed a few runs to get everything right,” Noble said.

Realta was a second-up winner over a mile and will have one more outing before taking on Group company.

“There’s a special conditions race at Te Rapa on Saturday for her and as long as she goes well again then she’ll run in the Royal Stakes,” Noble said.

“She’s a genuine stayer and has kept improving and developing. She botched the start last time, but Cameron (Lammas) rode her beautifully from there and she hit the line really strongly.” 

The half-sister by Red Giant to the winner and recent placegetter Longbeach, Realta is raced by an Easdon Lodge syndicate managed by Noble’s wife Leigh.

Recovery signs encouraging for injured jockey: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Wed, 10 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014
Signs are encouraging that seriously injured apprentice jockey Chris Dell is out of danger following his fall at yesterday’s Ruakaka trials.

Dell sustained significant head injuries in the fall, which is believed to have happened when the horse he was riding suffered spontaneous fractures to both forelegs and fell heavily in the home straight.

The trials were initially delayed and then abandoned, while Dell was attended to by medics before being helicoptered to Auckland Hospital. According to his mother Birdie, the 22-year-old remains under sedation, but initial scan results are encouraging.

“We’ll know more later today but at this stage they’re keeping him sedated and on a ventilator,” Mrs Dell told “Apparently it was a very heavy fall and he took quite a knock.

“The CT scan showed his brain isn’t swollen, so that’s a relief, and he’s got full movement of his limbs.

“Now it’s a matter of waiting until they think is the best time to bring him out of sedation and taking it from there, but we’re hoping that he’s going to be alright.”

McDonald to ride Rockfast at Ellerslie on New Year's Day: Richard Edmunds, The Informant Wed, 10 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014
James McDonald will be in action at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, having been booked this week to ride Rockfast in the Gr. 2 Great Northern Guineas.

Owned by Te Akau and trained by Jason Bridgman, Rockfast has been ridden in the majority of his starts by stable rider Matt Cameron, including a strong second to Turn Me Loose in the Gr. 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas last start.

But Cameron is forming a formidable association with the exciting galloper Volkstok’n’barrell, a race rival for Rockfast in the Guineas, and Te Akau have agreed to release their number-one rider from his contractual obligations on this occasion.

“I have encouraged Matt to ride this three-year-old gelding when he has the option,” Te Akau principal David Ellis said on the Te Akau website. “It’s very seldom a jockey gets on an exceptional horse. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest for Matt to get off this good horse.”

Superstar expat McDonald, who has previously won the Great Northern Guineas aboard Le Baron in 2008 and Zarzuela in 2009, has answered the call from his former employers.

“We have engaged James McDonald, Sydney’s champion jockey and former stable jockey for Te Akau Racing, to ride Rockfast in the Great Northern Guineas,” Ellis said. “It will be great to have Macca back in the country, and even better with his Te Akau tangerine back on.”

Bridgman pair aiming for Ellerslie features: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Tue, 09 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014
Darci's Dream is on target for Ellerslie Christmas racing.
Darci's Dream is on target for Ellerslie Christmas racing.

Rockfast and Darci’s Dream, the Jason Bridgman-trained pair of three-year-olds who finished second in their respective New Zealand 2000 and 1000 Guineas assignments, are back in full work as they prepare for holiday season racing.

Both talented gallopers were given a let-up of 10 days following their return from Christchurch and are scheduled to start at next week’s Te Aroha trials.

Rockfast finished second in the Sothy’s New Zealand 2000 Guineas on the first day of the Riccarton carnival, making up a big slice of ground in the final stages to head the chase after dominant winner Turn Me Loose.  

Bridgman intends starting the Fastnet Rock colt in the Gr. 2 Great Northern Guineas over 1600 metres at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, the first step towards the New Zealand Derby two months later. Rockfast is well up the order for the classic at a quote of $10 on the TAB’s fixed odds market.

Darci’s Dream, who put up a brave bid for her placing in the New Zealand Bloodstock 1000 Guineas on the final day at Riccarton, is headed for the Gr. 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

“They’ve both done very well since Riccarton and are well on target for Ellerslie,” Bridgman said at the Matamata track this morning after the pair had got through pleasing fast work. “Depending on how she goes in the Eight Carat, we might look at backing the filly up in the Royal Stakes on the last day at Ellerslie.”   

Bridgman also expressed his satisfaction with the progress made by his star juvenile Windborne, a sister to Darci’s Dream, who remained unbeaten with her smart win in the Listed Murdoch Newell Stakes at Avondale last month.

She was allowed striding work this morning as she continued her preparation for the Gr. 3 Eclipse Stakes at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.     
Time called on I Do's racing career: Dennis Ryan, The Informant Tue, 09 Dec 2014
10 Dec 2014

I Do and Opie Bosson score an emotion-charged victory in the Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate.
I Do and Opie Bosson score an emotion-charged victory in the Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate.

Time has been called on the career of outstanding racemare I Do, the most successful ever to race in the Waikato Stud colours.

The joint decision between trainer Allan Sharrock and fellow owner-breeder Mark Chittick follows the grey’s effort for fifth in the Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham on Saturday. I Do, the winner of 15 races and more than $540,000, is in foal to Savabeel, who stands alongside her own sire No Excuse Needed at Waikato Stud.

“She will be missed but all good things come to an end,” said Sharrock. “She was an honest, honest mare who always tried to please and was extremely low maintenance.

“We worked it out and in her 38 starts she finished in the top four placings on 31 of those occasions. She just ran out of petrol on Saturday and she means too much to us to continue to race her like that. Fifteen months of work takes its toll and she has nothing left to prove.”

It took 23 starts for I Do to break through for a black-type success, in the Listed Rotorua Stakes in May, 2013, but that was only the start of an extraordinary run of form as a six and seven-year-old.

In her final start of 2013 she won the Gr. 3 Manawatu Challenge Stakes, added another Rotorua Stakes in May, and then in a career-defining sequence she won the Listed Tauranga Classic, an emotion-charged Gr. 3 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate and then her crowning glory, the Gr. 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes.

She was to have four further starts, resulting in second in the Gr. 1 Windsor Park Plate, second in the Gr. 3 Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes, third in the Gr. 2 Tauranga Stakes and finally her fifth in the Captain Cook Stakes.

“We’re extremely proud of her achievements,” commented Mark Chittick, who will now take over care of the bonny mare. “Lady Aloof was the stud’s all-time benchmark horse in terms of the most wins and it’s taken 25 years to better her achievements.

“”It’s been an enjoyable few years and I have to say it’s been a masterful training effort to keep her up so long and to see her achieve what she has.”

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