The coveted $65,000 Fairview Ford Slipper Stakes, a listed race for two-year-old colts and geldings, at Matamata on Saturday, went the way of the locally trained Minstrel Court (2 Ch. C. Danehill Dancer – Tregurrian).
Trained at Matamata by Mark Walker, Minstrel Court had suffered defeat only once in four starts and won in the hands of top rider Opie Bosson, who kept the colt balanced throughout the running on a track that had been downgraded to slow prior to the event, after drizzly rain had continued to fall from the outset of the meeting.
Under instruction to ride the horse off the pace, Bosson made a decision to maintain a handy position after Minstrel Court had cleared the gates in smart fashion, and moved forward to assume the lead with 800 metres to run. Rounding the home turn with an advantage, Minstrel Court was immediately challenged by the favourite San Bernardino, a colt by Gold Mine, but found more in the run the line to win by three quarters of a length.
Rider Opie Bosson said, “He travelled well. I was supposed to ride him back.”
Finding the line stylishly for third was Ekraar colt Gigino, ahead of the stable-mate of the winner Tell A Tale, a gelding by Tale Of The Cat, in fourth.
The time for the 1200 metres was 1:11.72.
Minstrel Court had won his previous start in impressive fashion at Tauherenikau on February 6 when aided by the addition of wearing side winkers, after a tendancy to hang brought about his only defeat at his previous start at Te Rapa on December 15.
Owned by the Te Akau Syndicate No. 16, managed by David Ellis, Minstrel Court had indicated he had what it takes to prove competitive against the best of his age, and this victory is a perfect platform for him to launch into upcoming Group 1 assignments for two-year-olds.
The Big G