From the Commentary Box – Monday, 14 October 2013

It was the “old” team to the fore at Matamata last Saturday.

 The glory days of multiple Group One winner Seachange were recalled when Innovation won the days’ feature race, the Team Wealleans Matamata Cup.

Like Seachange, Innovation is raced by Dick Karreman’s The Oaks Stud, and is trained by Ralph Manning.

Although obviously not in the same class as her illustrious former stablemate, Innovation has fashioned a very good record during her career.

Saturday’s win in the Listed event was her 7th from just 24 starts and boosted her stake earnings to nearly $160,000.

The Keeper mare was ridden a very patient race by in form local apprentice Alex Forbes.

Allowed to settle near the tail of the field, Innovation began a searching forward move as the field neared the home turn.

“Although we were a long way off the leaders, I felt confident she could pick them up” said Forbes upon dismounting.

Over the final stages, Innovation proved too strong from another local representative, Full Of Spirit, trained by Roger James.

The pacemaker, The Shackler, finished a game third after setting a cracking pace.

Trainer Ralph Manning was confident prior to the race after rain fell during the day.

“The weather and track conditions played right into her hands today and she showed she is competitive with the right conditions” said Manning.

Manning was unsure of where Innovation will line up next.

“Rick Williams (Racing Manager for The Oaks Stud) is keen to see her step out over ground but she’s got a great record at 1600m” said Manning.

Where ever she lines up next, Innovation will again be competitive especially with conditions to suit.


Another “local” apprentice to salute last Saturday was Hong Kong born Kevin Leung.

The in form apprentice kicked home the perennial placegetter Keepit in the opening event on the card.

Raced by co trainer Murray Baker, Keepit capped off some consistent form with victory over 1600m.

After jumping well, Leung allowed his mount to settle midfield and bided his time there until the home turn.

Keep It burst to the lead at the 150m and fought strongly to the line to score from the unlucky Scarlett Chapparal.

The runner up ran into a brick wall at the 200m when trying to secure a run through, before unleashing a spirited late bid.

Leung has impressed many in recent weeks with his riding and has formed a potent combination with promising sprinter Twilight Dragon.

Still able to claim 3kgs, Leung’s services will continue to be in keen demand.


Congratulations to the connections of Marmi, trained by Gary Alton, who was successful over 1400m.

Another who seems to be there or thereabouts in her races, Marmi was well ridden by Alysha Collett to score off a patient ride.

Marmi finished strongly to out finish Uncle Sugar, with outsider Ravello in third spot.

“She’s not very big but she tries her hardest every time” said trainer Gary Alton.


Finally, you had to feel for the connections of El Roca in the Caulfield Guineas last Saturday.

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young trained three year old was a luckless fifth in the race.

He copped severe interference on the home turn, and to pick himself up and finish as close as he did was an outstanding performance.

His time will come.

I’ll catch you next week.