Racing: Juveniles take centre stage

By Mike Dillon

As they did at Ellerslie on Sunday night, the youngsters will hog the spotlight at Matamata tomorrow.

It should be a great contest by emerging topliners Mongolian Falcon, Sassy 'N' Smart and Luna Rossa, in what should be the feature, the $20,000 Prima Park 2YO over 1200m.

Although the very best of Mongolian Falcon may not be seen until he is three next season, there is plenty to be seen of the Fastnet Rock colt this preparation. His debut third at Ellerslie was remarkable.

He was checked two strides after the jump at Ellerslie and went back to a clear last. He improved wide around the field at the 600m and ranged outside the leaders on the home bend.

He may have gone on and won had he not raced extremely greenly down the home straight. At the 300 the colt appeared to not know how to let down, but juveniles having their first race at Ellerslie often do that.

He raced most of the home straight with his head high in the air and brought it down 30m from the finish, promoting himself from fourth to third in virtually the last two strides.

This will not be easy for him, if he has not learned sufficiently from that run, although the learning curve will have been substantial.

Sassy 'N' Smart will be a real danger. The formline that impresses is her double defeat of southern filly What Choux Want, who she relegated to second in both her starts so far. The value of that is What Choux Want weighed in after Sunday night's $1 million Karaka Million, great form for a race like this.

Luna Rossa's debut for second at Taranaki was quite remarkable. She raced very rank for most of the race and dropped out last, but when it came to the business end she flew late with a stunning last 200m that thrust her into second.

If she produces anything like the same speed late in this race she will take some keeping out.

?Lauren Tate has probably never quite attained the recognition she deserves, but victory in tomorrow's $30,000 Waharoa Transport 1600m at Matamata will do her reputation no harm.

The classy Waikato mare has placed at many of her more recent attempts at the races, but even those give no indication of her real ability.

Last autumn, Lauren Tate took on the group one New Zealand Stakes at Ellerslie and finished two heads behind Sakhee's Soldier and Rising Romance.

Taking a line through that form she deserves enormous respect here.

So does El Pescado, who appeared to resent the wet track at Ellerslie over the carnival. His earlier form had been stunning and he rates here.

Coming back from the 2400m of her Waikato Cup win, Vavasour should struggle at the 1600m because she is a dead set true stayer, but she possesses enormous class and will have been freshened so who knows?

There are a couple of upset chances. Silverdale is a lot better than his two most recent starts show. He is on his home track, can motor the last 300m better than anything in this field and rates, even with his big weight. Matimba is a lot better than given credit for. If he's given a chance to dictate in front he could be very difficult to bring back.

Sassy 'N' Smart and Luna Rossa shape as real danger to Mongolian Falcon at Matamata tomorrow

Weekend tips
*Hopefully better footing this time: Douro, R1 Matamata. Didn't look happy in the rain-affected footing at Ellerslie last start. Earlier form first class.
*Back him and stay with him: Mongolian Falcon R3 Matamata. Botched his debut at Ellerslie through inexperience, but his third was top class. Has huge ability.
*Each way: El Pascado, R6 Matamata. Well beaten last start, but the rain-affected track was probably to blame. An each-way chance here.

- NZ Herald

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