First leg of major treble goal for camp

Matt Cameron showing his delight as he picks up his second Wellington Cup, on Maygrove today. (Photo: NZ Racing Desk).

Matt Cameron showing his delight as he picks up his second Wellington Cup with victory today on Maygrove. (Photo: NZ Racing Desk).

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are shooting for a major treble within a fortnight with three horses for Wellington owner Lib Petagna.

The Cambridge trainers landed the first leg of the treble when Maygrove, ridden by Matt Cameron, raced away with the Gr. 2 Platinum Homes Wellington Cup at Trentham today and there is hardly time to get over the celebrations before the stable unleashes the second charge, Dal Cielo, in the Karaka Million at Ellerslie tomorrow evening.

If Dal Cielo, an impressive last-start winner at Ellerslie, is successful, the combination will then have to wait until February 7 for the bid to round off the major treble. On that date Atlante, a recent trials winner, will resume in the Gr. 1 Waikato Sprint at Te Rapa.

Atlante credited Petagna with Group One success when winning the 2013 Sothys New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton and the horse has been bought to eventually stand at Mapperley Stud. Petagna has remained part of the syndicate, which includes several prominent breeders and studmasters.

“We’ve had a bit of luck for Lib,” said Baker modestly when accepting congratulations for today’s win. “He’s got some good horses and this fellow is a good stayer. He always looked like he’d be a stayer, being from a Zabeel mare.

“He’s been a touch weak but he’s kept improving all the time.”

Petagna, who has also enjoyed much success with the dual Group One winner Lucia Valentina, races Maygrove in partnership with Patrick O’Rourke, an Auckland investment banker and long-time friend of Petagna’s bloodstock manager, Bruce Perry.

Perry has been responsible for finding and purchasing Petagna’s horses. He bought Maygrove for $110,000 from the Haunui Farm draft at the 2012 Select Sale at Karaka.

Maygrove started favourite in today’s Wellington Cup on the strength of a close second behind Just The Tip in his open-class debut, the Listed Gallagher Marton Cup at Awapuni on January 10. He had beaten Just The Tip three starts earlier at New Plymouth and between times had been runner-up at Ellerslie and a Rating 85 winner at Awapuni.

Cameron has been aboard in each of Maygrove’s last five starts and he went into today’s event confident he could win the race for the second time. He recorded his first Group One win aboard Willy Smith in the 2007 edition.

Cameron rode Maygrove, a son of English Derby winner Authorized, as though he was the best horse in the field, taking him to the front soon after straightening for the run home and the result was soon in no doubt.

Maygrove kept going strongly to win by two lengths from the fast-finishing Perfect Start with She’s Insatiable third ahead of King Kamada and the winner’s stable Decorah, who did well after being trapped wide throughout.

Maygrove added to Baker’s major Cups haul, which includes an Auckland Cup with Miss Stanima, the Brisbane Cup with Prized Gem and the Sydney Cup with Eagle Eye.

“He’s nominated for the Auckland Cup, but he might go to Sydney instead,” said Baker. “He needs to have a bit of a break and he won’t have time if he’s going to Ellerslie. Besides the Sydney Cup is worth about $1.5 million.”

The Sydney Cup is held in mid-April over 3200 metres and the manner in which Authorized handled today’s task suggests the extra distance will be well within his range.