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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Wednesday, February 22 2017

Princess Rihanna will anchor a three-pronged attack on Saturday's Gr.2 J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders' Stakes (1200m) for trainers Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott, whose Wexford Stables has a second-to-none record in the race.

Princess Rihanna - Race Images Palmerston North

Success for any of the trio would make it six wins in the race for Wexford Stables, which produced Ma Chiquita to win in 1985, Morar in 1990 and Tristalove in 1993 under Dave and Paul O'Sullivan, then Satinka in 2007 and Gold Rush last year in the care of Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott.

Lance O'Sullivan, who won the race as a jockey on Ma Chiquita, Morar, Tristalove, Phillipa Rush (1989) and Flying Babe (2001) and as a part-owner of Satinka and Gold Rush, had no hesitation in declaring Ma Chiquita as his favourite winner of the two-year-old fillies feature.

"Definitely Ma Chiquita. But that's going back a few years now to the 80s. She was a pretty special filly," he said.

Ma Chiquita maintained an unbeaten record when she won the Matamata Breeders' Stakes at her third start, the first of six stakes wins which included the Gr.1 George Main Stakes in Sydney in 1986.

Princess Rihanna, Miss Foxy Gal and Nothin' On Me have much to do to equal Ma Chiquita's feats but O'Sullivan has a high opinion of Showcasing filly Princess Rihanna, a debut winner at Otaki before fourth placings in the Gr.3 Eclipse Stakes (1200m) and $1 million Karaka Million (1200m), both at Ellerslie.

"Princess Rihanna is our best chance. It was certainly a good run in the Karaka Million," O'Sullivan said.

"She got held up for a few strides but I don't know whether that cost her running third or not. Most of the time, they come out of that race pretty tired horses but she certainly hasn't gone backwards. We've set her for this race. It's her grand final."

O'Sullivan, who was in Melbourne inspecting yearlings, described his other pair were "unknowns at this level" but he was optimistic gear changes could spark both.

Blinkers go on Miss Foxy Gal, while Nothin' On Me will race in side winkers.

"Miss Foxy Gal does very little on the training track to get you enthused but she looks well and the addition of blinkers will help her," O'Sullivan said.

"Nothin' On Me has been a little disappointing. She ran off at Ellerslie last time but she had run third to Felton Road there the start before. Michael McNab rode her in her work and suggested we try side winkers, so that's what we've done."

Among eight entries for the meeting, O'Sullivan and Scott will produce Summer Passage in the Listed Reid & Harrison Slipper (1200m) and Gentil Tonton in the Listed Marks Ewen & Associates Kaimai Stakes (2000m).

"Tony Pike's horse [Aim Smart] will be very hard for Summer Passage to beat again. He's obviously a very good horse and he beat us pretty comprehensively at Pukekohe last time," O'Sullivan said.

"But I'd be surprised if the margin is that big this time. Our horse raced pretty erratically and did things wrong at Pukekohe but his work since has been first-class."

Posted by: AT 08:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email