Locally trained galloper Valley Chief (6 B. G. Colombia - Dainty Lace) emulated his feat of two years ago when winning the $70,000 Stanley Group TRAC Stakes (2000m), a listed open handicap event at Matamata on Saturday.
Valley Chief had recorded a course and distance win at the corresponding Breeders Stakes meeting at Matamata in February 2006, and the Mark Brosnan trained galloper gained the victory with a similar tenacious performance.
Renowned for racing in or near the lead, Valley Chief with regular rider Reese Jones in the saddle posted second on the outside of pacemaker Galleons Reach (Victory Dance), remaining there until a shuffle of positions occurred near the 900 metres. Jones sent Valley Chief to the front at the 600 metres, rounded the home turn in front on the rail and sustained an unwavering gallop when hotly challenged by Resolution (Pentire) at the furlong, to win by a long head.
The early leader Galleons Reach fought on for third, two and a half lengths away, with the remainder of the field six lengths and further in arrears.
The time for the 2000 metres was 2:08.33, on a track downgraded from good to soft and run in constant drizzle throughout the day.
Valley Chief had returned to winning form at his previous start, at Te Rapa on February 2. In his recent starts he had produced a brave run for sixth to Pasta Post (Postponed) in the group two Don Ha City Of Auckland Cup at Ellerslie on January 1, before being narrowly beaten by Desert Flight (Desert Sun) at Avondale at on January 19, and the tough galloper has now won 12 races and $284,000 for his owners.
The Big G