Leading thoroughbred nursery Waikato Stud has strengthened its relationship with the Matamata Racing Club in the creation of a fillies and mares’ race with special meaning.
Appropriately, the race is named in honour of the late Lisa Chittick and will be contested at the MRC’s annual Premier meeting, Matamata Breeders’ Stakes day on February 22.
The Lisa Chittick Plate will be an open 1400m race run under set weight and penalty conditions with a stake of $40,000.
“It means a lot to my family and no doubt the O’Sullivan family to be able to stage a race at Matamata in honour of Lisa,” said her former husband, Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick.
“Matamata Breeders’ Stakes day was Lisa’s favourite race meeting of the year and it’s entirely fitting to see this race added to the programme.”
Waikato Stud already sponsors the Gr. 3 Waikato Stud Slipper (1200m), a two-year-old colts and geldings’ feature that complements the Gr. 2 J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) for juvenile fillies. The third black-type race on the February 22 card is the Listed Matamata Veterinary Services Kaimai Stakes (2000m).
“The Matamata Racing Club recognises Waikato Stud as a huge industry force, and one that Lisa Chittick made an immeasurable contribution to,” MRC chairman Dennis Ryan said.
“The club and Waikato already have a strong and long-standing relationship and we are thrilled to play our part in staging a race in memory of somebody we will always consider as one of our own.”
Beauty Generation vying for three-peat
Dual Hong Kong Horse of the Year Beauty Generation will be attempting to win his third successive Gr.1 Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The New Zealand-bred galloper heads into the race off the back of two placings over a mile, but trainer John Moore remains confident with the son of Road to Rock ahead of his weekend assignment, where he has drawn barrier five.
“He’s been carrying a lot of weight in his races but we’ve also tweaked a few things and he seems like his old self all of a sudden,” he said.
“I’m very happy. I know where most of the other horses will lay up and it should give the opportunity for Ka Ying Star to go to the front unless there’s some pace we don’t know about.”
Beauty Generation was bred by Greg Tomlinson, under his Nearco Stud banner, and was sold through Highden Park’s 2014 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale draft for $60,000 to Kylie Bax.
The son of Road to Rock was initially trained in Australia by Anthony Cummings, where he raced as Montaigne, and was runner-up in the Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) before he was sold to Hong Kong.
He has thrived in the Asian racing jurisdiction, winning seven Group One races and more than HK$87million (NZ$16.9 million) in prizemoney.
Patrick Erin returns home
Group One-winning stayer Patrick Erin has returned to the Wingatui stable of Brian and Shane Anderton.
The son of Gallant Guru had spent the majority of the last two seasons in the care of leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller, who guided him to victory in the Gr.1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) at Randwick.
The eight-year-old gelding also recorded fourth-placings in the Gr.2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) and Gr.3 Kingston Town Stakes (1800m).
Patrick Erin was set to contest last season’s Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), however, an elevated temperature resulted in his scratching on the eve of the famous race.
The Andertons will be looking to add to Patrick Erin’s winning tally in New Zealand, where he won 10 races prior to his Australian venture, including victory in the Listed Riverton Cup (2147m).