Promising two-year-old Matchmaker got her racing career off to the best possible start when she raced away to an impressive victory at Riccarton on Saturday. The Makfi filly took on her age-group rivals off the back of an eye-catching trial win at Rangiora last week which saw her heavily supported in the 1000m dash on the Heavy 10 surface.
She didn’t let her backers down as she settled nicely in midfield before easing into a challenging position approaching the home bend. Rider Tina Comignaghi asked for an effort at the 300m and the filly hit top gear in a few strides as she bolted clear to win easing down by just over three lengths from race favourite Stella Creek, who chased hard in the closing stages.
Co-trainer Nick Wigley, who prepares Matchmaker with training partner Kayla Milnes, had been expecting a good performance from the filly who he believes has the potential to go a lot further. “She’s a big strong filly who has always shown us plenty,” Wigley said. “I’m just pleased to see her get through the heavy going. “I did have a good walk of the track and there was a strip that did seem a little better so Tina managed to get on to that which helped her a lot.”
Wigley had the filly ready to go before the COVID-19 pandemic enforced lockdown put paid to those plans however, in hindsight, he believes it may have helped her development. “We would have given her a run before the lockdown came about but we ended up putting her away for a month,” he said. “It probably was the best thing as she gets a wee bit stirred up, so it wasn’t a bad thing to give her a break at that stage. “She can have another short break now then we’ll bring her back for the Canterbury Belle Stakes (Listed, 1200m) as we think she will enjoy getting over further while a better track will help as well.”
Bred and raced by Wigley’s son Gus and his wife Bianca under the family’s Inglewood Stud banner, Matchmaker is from an extended family that includes multiple stakes winner Dynamic Love. Wigley admitted the phone had been ringing regarding a possible sale prior to the race and that the victory would only intensify the attention in the filly. “He (Gus) nearly sold her a couple of days ago but I think he’s quite pleased he kept her,” he said. “The offers will be coming in thick and fast now I would think!”
Matchmaker is one of five horses that Wigley and Milnes have in work at present with promising three-year-old Blackbook set to make her resumption at Ashburton next weekend.