Makfi filly Matchmaker is attracting plenty of interest ahead of her debut at Riccarton on Saturday – and not just from punters. North Canterbury trainers Nick Wigley and Kayla Milnes produced Matchmaker for an impressive two-year-old 850m trial win at Rangiora earlier this month in easily the quickest time of the day.
Bred and raced by Wigley’s son Gus and his wife Bianca, Matchmaker is out of the Fastnet Rock mare Love Somebody, a mare the Wigleys’ Inglewood Stud secured for $A28,000 in foal to Toorak Toff. Racing as Dellacqua, that mare has gone on to win five races in Australia and Nick Wigley has high hopes Matchmaker can follow in the same vein in her debut in Saturday’s Barry Knudsen Dash (1000m).
And he revealed he wasn’t the only one with a good opinion of the filly. “She was a filly who we had entered for Karaka but she didn’t pass the X-ray and we ended up keeping her. She had a cyst on her hind leg but that doesn’t seem to be worrying her,” Nick Wigley said. “Gus has had somebody ringing him up to buy her and he’s X-rayed her which has shown the cyst has certainly improved. There’s been a lot of interest in her but whether she’d pass the vet, we don’t know.”
Wigley said Matchmaker had continued to thrive since her trial win under Samantha Wynne, who has had to forego the ride to Tina Comignaghi through suspension. “She did it pretty easily in the trial. She just cruised up to those horses and won nicely,” Wigley said. “Sam deliberately held her back and made a race of it and she’s learned something from doing that. Sam said she hadn’t felt a horse with gears like that for a while. It was a heavy track at Rangiora but it wasn’t as wet as what Riccarton will be and that’s what I’m most wary of.
“We have had a week of drying and this is where the two-year-old race is so we’ll take our chances. She’ll have one run now then have a wee let up. We think she’s a Guineas filly so we’ll give her a break and then head her in that direction.”
Beyond Matchmaker, the Wigley family has plenty of reason to be upbeat heading into the new season. Bookings have been steady for Inglewood Stud stallion War Decree and stud graduates are continuing to fly the flag. “There’s been good interest for War Decree. It’s been a bit quieter but we’d expected that and 60 mares booked in this climate would be a pretty good result and we think he’ll get that. And the quality of mares he’s attracting has improved,” Wigley said.
The Wigleys have also kept tabs on stud graduate Mystery Shot, now unbeaten in four starts, and he will be looking to keep that record intact at Caulfield on Saturday when he contests the Neds Bet Back Handicap (1400m). “He’s an interesting horse. He was sold to Hong Kong interests (for $260,000 at Karaka in 2018) but he’s ended up in Victoria and he’s doing a good job over there. He looks pretty exciting.
“The mare (Mystique) has had another one since him (Mystique Falcon, $220,000 at Karaka last year) who was a winner at Sandown last month and she’s in foal to Merchant Navy.”