Matamata trainer Jason Bridgman’s team fired up at yesterday’s Te Teko trials, with the notable exception of Irish Rebel. Aidan Rodley reports.
It was one step backwards but several steps forward for Matamata trainer Jason Bridgman at yesterday’s Te Teko trials.
Bridgman scrubbed a planned start for talented three-year-old Irish Rebel in next month’s Gr II $100,000 Hawke’s Bay Guineas after the colt indicated he wouldn’t be ready in time.
But there was much more to take heart from in the two 600m two-year-old heats with Bridgman producing promising Alamosa filly Quintette to win the first heat over two stablemates and precocious Commands colt Catalonia to win the second.
Irish Rebel dumped rider Matthew Cameron before the opening 1000m catchweight heat then failed to figure in the trial, finishing at the rear of the eight-horse event.
‘‘He just got a bit wound up before the start and dropped the rider and then he got a bit worked up at the start as well,’’ Bridgman said.
‘‘He trialled like a horse that was too above himself in condition today and he’s shown us that he’s not forward enough for the Hawke’s Bay Guineas.
‘‘There’s nothing to fault with the horse but he’s just a little bit behind the eight-ball. We’ve still got eight weeks till the  Guineas at Riccarton so there’s no reason to panic. We’ll just get him fully fit and then find the right race for him.’’
Irish Rebel showed plenty of potential in five starts as a two-year-old, winning at Awapuni on debut when beating subsequent Gr I winner Choice Bro.
He went on to finish second in the Gr III Eclipse Stakes at Ellerslie, fourth in the Gr II Wakefield Challenge Stakes at Trentham, second to Magic Shaft in the Listed Matamata Slipper and fourth in the Gr I Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes at Awapuni.
Bridgman said Irish Rebel would probably return to the Te Teko trials on October 9 before a fresh-up run in either the Gr III Sarten Memorial Stakes (1400m) at Te Rapa on October 22, the Gr II Wellington Guineas (1500m) at Trentham on October 27 or a suitable grade race.
‘‘We won’t determine any of those starting points until we assess his next trial,’’ Bridgman said.
The heat was won by the Graham Richardson-trained Ididit from Whosyourmaster and the Bridgman-trained Darci’s Gold, with the John Sargent-trained Kasumi defeating Joey Massino and the Richardson-trained Mosh Pit beating Savour The Moment in the other 1000m heats, while the Chris Wood-trained Master Power won the 1200m open heat.
Catalonia again stamped his class with a 1 1/4-length win in his heat.
Despite a slow beginning, he cruised up to his rivals quickly and went to the line under a hold from Cameron.
He had trialled superbly at Te Teko last month, winning his heat by six lengths, and Bridgman yesterday flagged a debut run in the 880m two-year-old race at Ellerslie on October 27.
‘‘He’s a very impressive type, certainly the most naturally talented two-year-old I’ve had under my care in my time at Te Akau,’’ Bridgman said.
‘‘I’ve got some really nice two-year-olds this year and probably my best two-year-olds of the early brigade were out today, the ones that will be in the early Group races and then aimed for the Karaka Million.
‘‘I was pretty happy with all of them. There’s some nice fillies there. We’ll just see how they pull up and then make some decisions with them.’’
Bridgman produced three fillies in the first heat, with Quintette the main talking point after her two-length win over stablemates Dreamer and an unnamed Keeper-Lady Dehere filly.
Quintette’s dam, Everswindell, saved her best performances for 3200m, winning the Gr III New Zealand Cup and finishing third in the Gr I Wellington Cup at that distance.
While she was still a filly good enough to run second in the Gr I 1000 Guineas at 1600m, it was remarkable that her first daughter would be sharp enough to win a 600m trial.
‘‘A lot of that is down to the promise of Alamosa as a stallion,’’ Bridgman said.
‘‘He was a versatile two-year-old and three-year-old himself and I’ve had a couple of Alamosas come through so far and I like them both. This filly will only keep improving, but even so, right now she’s very good.’’
Meanwhile, Bridgman’s champion two-year-old from last season, Warhorse, will continue his buildup to the Gr I $400,000 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 12 when he contests Saturday’s Listed $50,000 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie.
Gr I Diamond Stakes winner Warhorse headed the 17 entries yesterday and was ready to run an improved race, according to Bridgman, after he could only manage fourth resuming in the Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m) earlier this month on an unsuitable heavy track.
‘‘He’ll run providing the track is no worse than slow,’’ Bridgman said.
‘‘He’s come through the Whanganui run really well. He’s in good order but he’s probably going to take a couple of runs before we get him to peak fitness.
‘‘The aim for him is to win a Gr I race as a three-year-old and this is another stepping stone race. But on a track he can handle, he’s ready to run a good race.’’
Among the other Bonecrusher Stakes entries are Listed Champagne Stakes winner Swiper The Fox, stakes-placed Southern Lord and Best Command, Dorian Grey and Hollywood Angel.
The Listed $50,000 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) attracted 16 entries with Best Command and Hollywood Angel dual acceptors. Listed Foal Stakes winner Misstrum heads the field along with last-start Wanganui Fillies Stakes winner Twilight Granita and runner-up Kisses, Decorah, Perfect Start, Elysium and Kelly O’Reilly.
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