“Be on Anabandana next time” — Cameron

Matt Cameron was quick to put his hand up to ride Anabandana again after finishing second on the top Cambridge filly at Te Rapa today.

With regular rider Opie Bosson unable to make the 54.5kg weight on Anabandana in the Group III James and Annie Sarten Memorial (1400m), Cameron picked up the choice mount on last season’s champion two-year-old.

Anabandana had impressively won the Group III Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes fresh-up at Hastings on September 17 with Bosson in the saddle and was sent out favourite for the Te Rapa feature. But it was Antonio Lombardo, who came up trumps, scoring by a length from Anabandana. The pair had met twice last season and Anabandana had come out on top both times, including a nose victory in the Group I Oaks Stud Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes.

Antonio Lombardo led throughout to maintain his unbeaten record in three starts this season, following on from wins at Ruakaka and in the Group II DHL Hawke’s Bay Guineas, but Cameron was impressed by the performance of Anabandana.

“She feels amazing,” said Cameron. “She puts herself there and I thought it was a very good run today. She hadn’t raced for a while and she was a bit pretty. When I took the saddle off she had blown up a bit over the back so there’s improvement in her. Antonio Lombardo had that extra run and was fitter today but I think she’ll win next time.”

That next mission for Anabandana is Riccarton’s fillies feature, the Group I NZ 1000 Guineas on Saturday week and Cameron is keeping his fingers crossed that he might be able to stick with the filly.

“If Opie can’t make the weight down there I’d love to be on her,” said Cameron. “I’ve got my foot in the door and it was great to get the ride today.”

Trainer Don Sellwood wasn’t surprised by the defeat. Before the race in a Trackside interview he revealed she may need the run, having not started for five weeks.

“I’ve been happy with her and her coat has turned, but she’ll improve with this one,” said Sellwood.