Racing: North Island raider wins listed sprint

Lee Callaway urges Mae Jinx towards the line to win the listed Berkley Stud Stakes at Wingatui yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Lee Callaway urges Mae Jinx towards the line to win the listed Berkley Stud Stakes at Wingatui yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
An inter-island gamble paid off for the trainers of Mae Jinx in the Berkley Stud Stakes at Wingatui yesterday - and jockey Lee Callaway was happy to grab the spoils.

Callaway rated the mare to perfection in the listed 1200m dash, holding off late bids from El Chico and Pinsgold, twisting around her habits of the past two starts in the North Island where she had been up on the pace but dropped out.

Callaway was concerned about deja vu setting in for the mare.

''I was a little bit worried when there was a lot of pace on,'' Callaway said.

''After two strides she sprinted [to the lead] easy and I rated her as much as I could without fighting her.

''I tried to kick on the turn - I had a horse on my girth and ended up still fighting hard to the line. I expected her to stop more than she did.''

One of those chasing was El Chico, who was a massive second after dropping off the pack by three lengths at one point to finish just a neck away from Mae Jinx.

Caretaker trainer Paul Richards said the mare's co-trainers, Mike Moroney and Chad Ormsby, of Matamata, opted to send the Stravinsky mare south after she was finding the pace up north a little too tough.

Her last start was behind the unbeaten Mosse who will go into the Railway Stakes on New Year's Day as a very warm favourite.

Callaway immediately went to work on studying his form once he acquired the ride - out of the blue.

''I did a bit of study on it and thought it could be an upset hope today coming down to the South Island,'' he said.

''I know her form - four duck eggs [10th or worse] - does not look good, but I thought she could be thereabouts today.''

Callaway has had to be patient in his quest for another group or listed win since his listed 2005 Winter Classic win on Shanamann.

''It's been a while since I've won big races.''