Day At The Track

Maybe Melbourne for Mattgregor

04:59 PM 11 May 2017 NZST
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Mattgregor
Connections of Mattgregor are contemplating a Melbourne raid next week.
Dan Costello Photo

Exciting harness racing four-year-old Mattgregor will have his connections thinking across the weekend.

The speedy pacer will start favourite in Sunday’s $15,540 Kevin & Kay Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final after drawing gate three but there’s plenty more at stake than just the prizemoney.

Prepared by husband and wife team of Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen, Mattgregor will again be handled by concession reinsman Hayden Barnes this weekend.

But connections are toying with the idea of heading to Melbourne next weekend to contest the Gr.2 $75,000 4 & 5yo Championship at Tabcorp Park Melton.

“It’s something we’re strongly considering but we have to get through his race this weekend in good order firstly, this race fits his schedule nicely and it’s quite doable given we can fly him down a few days before the event.” McMullen said.

Back in February, Mattgregor qualified for the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle in Sydney and finished a creditable 5th behind champion New Zealand pacer Lazarus in a time of 1:49.0.

Mattgregor started from gate 10, the extreme outside and was beaten less than 10m but managed to record the best closing splits of the event.

The rangy gelding resumed with an easy victory on Tuesday afternoon when leading throughout in his heat while recording a time of 1:58.6.

In-form mare Summertime Lizzie won the other heat in a time of 1:55.0 and will start to the immediate inside of Mattgregor on Sunday.

“We were very pleased with his hit-out on Tuesday; he had a very easy time of it in front and just sprinted from the top of the straight. It wasn’t a taxing run and he’ll be ready for a big effort this weekend.

“It was also Hayden’s first race drive behind him and he’ll know a lot more about him following that race so they will both be better for the run. Obviously Summertime Lizzie commands respect, she’s won her past four starts and recorded very good time so we won’t take her lightly.

“The Melbourne race is a good option because there isn’t a great deal coming up for him during the winter carnival, we’ve got a 4yo race and then basically he’s in the deep end with the open class performers if we want to chase the decent prizemoney. I’m happy to race against the best.”

No decision will be made until after the weekend.

But connections have made contact regarding the availability of flights.

Chris Barsby

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