Racing: Ultimate Machete carves up field

By Matt Smith

Natalie Rasmussen drives Ultimate Machete to the ultimate prize. Photo / NZ Racing Desk
Natalie Rasmussen drives Ultimate Machete to the ultimate prize. Photo / NZ Racing Desk

A year ago, Phil Kennard was blown away by the performance of Lazarus in the Sires' Stakes Final.

But the performance of Ultimate Machete in the same group one yesterday left him gasping just one word: Wow.

In what turned out to be the most torrid Sires' Stakes Final in the 33 editions of the early-season 3-year-old championship, the son of Bettor's Delight - who else - produced a staying performance for the ages, averaging a 1.52.6 mile rate over the 1950m of the Sires' Stakes.

The overall time of 2.16.5 was not just a record for 3-year-olds, it was a national record for allcomers, lowering the mark set by Have Faith In Me in the same race in 2014 by 0.8 seconds.

Kennard shares in the ownership of Ultimate Machete with wife Glenys, Phil and Margaret Creighton of East Taieri, along with fellow owners Kevin Riseley and Gavin Douglas.

The Kennards also feature in the ownership of Lazarus, who made his mark as a horse of the future in the 2015 edition.

"It's just huge - and the time, wow!" Kennard exclaimed.

"It was a Lazarus performance. Initially I thought Nat was going to go forward but obviously the gas was on so early. Then she's had to work round, sit outside Star Galleria and they've gone hammer and tongs from the 800m. Then to hold off Mark [Purdon] for the last 100m.

"That's two great races in this race in the last two years and fortunately, we've had an interest in both horses."

Co-trainer and driver Natalie Rasmussen had a sense the time was quick - the first 341m was run in a blistering 22.1 seconds - but Ultimate Machete's floating stride helped him swallow up the 1950m in record time.

"He's a very deceiving horse, he just gets over the ground so easy," she said.

The All Stars Stable's procession, which ended with six winners, began with Matt Anderson breaking his Cup Day duck behind Smiley Sophie in the only maiden on the card.

The 24-year-old Cantabrian finished second with Blackguards Corner so was relieved to go one better.

"Especially just getting beat last year, you go away do your homework and and try your luck again," he said. "Coming from Canterbury, it's the icing on the cake."

Dream About Me had no right to win the junior free-for-all after sitting near the back on a slow tempo before moving up parked with a lap to go and grinding out a brave win over Locharburn and Field Marshal.

Part-owner Paul Kenny is familiar with success in the group three as part-owner of the champion mare Adore Me, and there are plenty of comparisons between the two already. "Adore Me won this race the year before she won the cup, so who knows," Kenny said. "If she's going to race in the free-for-all on Friday, she had to run with some authority today and she keeps stepping up."

• The Methven master Ricky May was back at his driving peak at Addington yesterday.

But it is more what he didn't do in winning the group one trotting free-for-all which could play a part in Monbet claiming the Dominion Trot at the same venue on Friday. Left with a freewheeling Marcoola to chase down, May moved Monbet to the parked spot with 1000m to go.

He eventually wore down the brave 4-year-old, bettering him by half a head at the line. "I was trying to look after him as much I could ahead of Friday," May said.

- NZ Herald

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