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2000 SIRES' STAKES 2YO FINAL - Won by Matai Mackenzie


The ATC Trot 2000 Syndicate's fairytale season finished with a flourish when Matai Mackenzie won the $144,000 Civic Video NZ Sires' Stakes Final at Addington. In what Syndication Manager Rob Carr described as a dream come true, Matai Mackenzie put the lid on a remarkable 1999/2000 term by collecting their biggest cheque yet - $86,400 and a Group 1 victory to boot.

It was a fitting result for the Auckland Trotting Club, who deserve all the credit they get for developing such a simple but so effective form of horse ownership which has introduced hundreds of new faces into the sport of harness racing. The club's three 50-share syndicates are the brainchild of Vice-President Steve Stockman, and the results from their first season of racing are nothing short of astonishing.

The Trot 2000 Syndicate, the second one up and running, bought Matai Mackenzie, Parisian Falcon and Moschino for a total of $74,000 from last year's sales. All 2-year-olds, to date they have collectively had 17 starts for seven wins, eight placings and $272,535; Moschino having not made it to the racetrack yet.

The 1999/2000 term has also been the first for the Club's first syndicate, Trotpower, whose three 3-year-olds Perspicuous, Highview Nero and Midnight Rumpus didn't race at two but have netted seven wins, six placings and $28,396 from 20 appearances on the track. The trio cost $62,000 at the previous year's sales.

And syndicate number three, Trot 2001, is half a dozen places away from being full. Their purchases from the sales earlier this year were Dirt Rider (c Falcon Seelster-Chiavari, $20,000)and being trained by John and David Butcher; Bing (c Soky's Atom-Dispron, $27,000) in Barry Purdon's barn; and Chocks Away (c Soky's Atom-Take Wing, $20,000 Geoff Small.

"This year has really been unbelievable," Carr said. "The syndicate members at Addington on Friday night were just fizzing, there was so much fun and excitement - and that is what this game is all about. The success of the syndicates is due mainly to the formula; three top trainers get to select a yearling of their choice from the sales, and there is three horses in each syndicate as well."

Carr paid tribute to a masterful drive by Tony Herlihy. Many probably thought the ace reinsman would look for a sit from his wide draw, but instead he speared Matai Mackenzie out to reach the front early and waited for Hero to come round. "He can really come out of the gate if I ask him to," Herlihy confirmed. "It was a good effort, because he did a bit to get that handy sit early but still had enough to run down Hero at the finish. Hero had beaten us fair and square the previous week, when my bloke took a while to wind up; I don't think there is much between the two and City Rogue," he said.

Herlihy said Matai Mackenze's greatest attributes were his gait and attitude. "He is such a relaxed bugger; he is a natural racehorse. Given a bit of a break now he should come back a real nice racehorse next season.

Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 17May00

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