Day At The Track

Aiming for a higher level

11:53 AM 02 Dec 2015 NZDT
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Jake Turpin
NRL hopeful Jake Turpin races promising pacer Mattgregor, a winner in two of his three starts to date.

Emerging talent Mattgregor is set to follow a similar path as his owner. The New Zealand bred three-year-old colt is co-owned by talented NRL prospect Jake Turpin, a contracted player with the Melbourne Storm.

Turpin, 19, shares ownership with his mother Karen and long-time stable client Denis Golinski after purchasing the unraced pacer from the leading stables of Christchurch based horseman Mark Jones earlier this year.

The similarities between owner and horse are eerily alike.

Both are loaded with enormous potential and great skill while both are hoping to crack it at a higher level.

Turpin has been part of the Melbourne Storm system since catching the eye of talent scouts at the Queensland Under-15 Schoolboys side a few years ago.

The talented utility spent his first season as a Thunderbolt playing halfback in 2014 and earned selection in Queensland's U18 side at hooker and has trained with the NRL squad during pre-season for the second straight year.

With future immortals Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk standing in his way, Turpin is happy to ply his craft and learn from the best.

Turpin is midway through another gruelling pre-Christmas Storm training camp but keeps in regular contact with his sister Chantal, the official trainer of Mattgregor.

“It’s tough going at the moment but it’s an amazing opportunity to train with the likes of our first grade squad, it’s all about building for a big season next year. Hopefully it will be the same with this colt, he looks like he’s got some ability and hopefully he continues to step up to the mark for Chantal and Pete (McMullen – driver)” Turpin said.

Boasting two wins from three starts to date, Mattgregor has looked overloaded with speed because both victories have come in sub 1:54 mile rates at Albion Park before heading for a brief freshen-up while connections consider their options.

The Rob Roy Mattgregor – Miss Sunshine colt resumed at the trials today (Tuesday) at Albion Park and scored a come from behind victory in 1:58.7 while covering his final half in 57.3 seconds.

“We all know he’s got ability but it’s all about harnessing that potential and going to a higher level and like most owners, we’re hoping he can measure up to Derby standard and chase some of the better races available this season.

“He’s still a colt but it has been mentioned about gelding him but they can make that decision if it needs to be made, they’re the experts in that regard. I know they’re still teaching him plenty and hopefully he will put it all together in time to come.

“At this stage I think we’re heading to Sydney next month for the Simpson Memorial and that will be his measuring stick to see whether we have a really nice horse or just a nice horse on our hands. If he performs well, we can look at other features otherwise he can head back home and look at races at Albion Park.”

Hopefully it can be a breakthrough season for both owner and his horse.

by Chris Barsby

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