New Zealand Cup Week a great showing

Matt Smith
Matt Smith gives an overview of this week in racing.

Week of highs . . .

There are still two meetings to go, but racing fans have been treated to some gold at this year’s New Zealand Cup Week.

From Ugo Foscolo’s brave front-running win in the 2000 Guineas and Bloodstream’s continued emergence on Saturday, through to the tremendous efforts by Dream About Me, Ultimate Machete and Lazarus on New Zealand Trotting Cup day, you would have to be a hard marker not to be impressed by the quality on offer so far.

. . .  and lows

It hasn’t all been beer and skittles, though. Unfortunately, the thoroughbred industry lost the great campaigner King Montrose in Saturday’s Pegasus Stakes. The 10yr-old won 15 of his 61 starts, and he was a favourite with many of the jockeys who sat on board him during his career, including KC Walters.

The week hasn’t been kind to the Inner Mongolian Rider Horse Industry group either. Mongolian Falcon didn’t fare too well on a firm Riccarton track in the 2000 Guineas, and then there were strange scenes in the lead-up to the sires stakes final on Tuesday. Mongolian Storm kicked out with  his  hind legs in the score-up and managed to get both trapped in the sulky. Fellow journalists in the press room could not recall such an incident happening before in a lead-up to the race.

The good news is the horse was fine — even if he was a bit ginger in the back legs as he was walked back to the stables — and racing has a way of balancing things out, so more success will surely come the way of Lin Lang and his supporters in due course.

You’re fired

After the tumultuous last 48 hours over in the Not-So-United States, Racing Matters thought Illegal Immigrant (by American Ideal out of Oaxaca Lass) was the omen bet at Ashburton yesterday. But appropriately enough, he came up against a wall 100m out and was trumped by Givematasteofkiwi. That’s the last time politics will appear in this column.

The times . . .

Lazarus was supersonic in Tuesday’s New Zealand Trotting Cup. But just how quick did he go? Well, after clearly having too much time to kill on Tuesday night, Racing Matters figured out the 4yr-old champion-in-waiting’s winning time of 3.53.1 was 1min and 24.5secs faster than the 1905 winner Birchmark, who went the distance in 5min 17.6.

. . .  they are a changin’

Ignoring the 18m difference in distance between the imperial two miles and 3200m, Lazarus would have finished 422.5 lengths ahead of Birchmark (416.5 lengths if you don’t ignore the 18m difference). A length is approximately 3m, so to put it in visual terms, Birchmark would still have at least a lap to go of the Addington track to finish by the time Lazarus’ driver Mark Purdon tucked the whip under his arm after the line.

Lazy fiver

The torrid pace put paid to Star Galleria on Tuesday. Let’s finish Cup Week on a high with Margarita Mover in race 11 at Riccarton tomorrow.

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