A group one pedigree was to the fore at Matamata where Griffin opened his career in perfect fashion.

The well-related son of Iffraaj was overlooked in the betting, but the chestnut defied yesterday's market to impressively win the Don Griffith Trenching 1200.

A brother to stablemate and dual group one New Zealand Derby and Rosehill Guineas winner Gingernuts, Griffin is now likely to be spell in preparation for his three-year-old season.

"Both of his more recent trials were pretty good and we were going to put him out, but he did deserve a crack at this," said Stephen Autridge, who trains with Jamie Richards.


A tardy start resulted in Griffin settling further off the pace than anticipated, but it made no difference to the 16-1 chance and he finished strongly in the straight to down the favourite Mongolian Beauty.

"He got to the line really well, and like his brother, the further he goes the better he'll be," Autridge said.

Griffin was purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis from Taranaki breeder Chris Thompson for $90,000 through Gavelhouse.com.

Thompson has retained 10 per cent and is among the Te Akau Slam Dunk Syndicate which race the promising chestnut.

Meanwhile, Cameron Lammas returned from suspension yesterday at Matamata where he immediately made his mark at long odds in the opening event.

He got the best out of the Glenn Old-trained Bizzwinkle, who was at odds of 40-1 in the Marks Ewen & Associates 2000 after unplaced runs at his first two starts.

"I've lost a bit of fitness, I'm a bit buggered after that," Lammas said.

While punters were rocked by the result, Old wasn't surprised.

"We were quite confident last time at Taupo.

"But he missed the jump and got back in the ruck and never had a chance," he said.

The next-up options for the promising stayer Sylvester will depend on which venue offers the better going.

The lightly tried four-year-old has consecutive wins to his credit at Tauherenikau and at Awapuni and part-owner and trainer Sylvia Kay is keeping her options open with the Road To Rock gelding.

"He'll either be going to Palmerston North or Wellington," she said.

"There are races at both places to suit him, he just needs the better track. I don't want to run him on a bog track - he's still learning and I think he will be a very good horse in the spring."

Sylvester has twice been successful from six appearances and stablemate Dolcetto is another progressive type with two wins from half a dozen starts.

"She's more of a sprinter and I'd like to run her at Awapuni on the 20th in a Hanley Qualifier with the final at Wellington a week later," Kay said.

Kay also has hopes of Amarone adding to the stable's winning tally in the El Cheapo Cars Handicap at her home meeting at Otaki today.

"She doesn't do herself any favours the way she starts, she always hesitates and gets back," she said.

"She's got a good finish on her when she gets a clear run.

"She's no superstar, but she's handy enough and has got no weight on her back."

- NZ Racing Desk