Debut victory for Mandalay Bay

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

A plethora of talented young pacers have carried Brian O’Meara’s famous silks, and he may have unearthed another at Rangiora on Sunday.

Mandalay Bay was making his debut in the Sefton Pace (2600m) and was handled patiently by driver Jim Curtin after making a quiet beginning.

The three-year-old gelding tracked fellow debutant Michael Caine throughout and attained the coveted one-one position with a lap to go.

With 550m to go driver Ben Hope pushed the go button on Michael Caine, who left his rivals flat-footed, however, Mandalay Bay was able to respond and quickly recaptured the back of Michael Caine before improving three-wide and powering over the top of his adversary to win by three-quarters of a length.

O’Meara was pleased with the Somebeachsomewhere gelding’s debut effort and believes he has a bright future as he continues to build into his frame.

“He went well for such a big horse,” O’Meara said. “He would be a good 16 hands, he is bigger than most horses out there.

“I would think down the line he will get a lot better but I was pleased with what he achieved today.”

O’Meara purchased Mandalay Bay out of Studholme Bloodstock’s 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred National Yearling Sale draft for $30,000, noting his pedigree had plenty of appeal.

His dam, On The Town, won five races and ran third in the Listed Northern Mares Classic (2200m) for trainer Barry Purdon.

Her siblings were equally as impressive, with her full-brothers including 16-win gelding On The Razzle, Group Two performer On The Cards, and four-win gelding On The Rantan.

“The mother was quite a handy mare and I think she and her brothers won about $900,000,” O’Meara said.

“None of them raced at two and took a bit of time, and I don’t think any of them were as tall as him. I am hopeful he will get a bit better.”

Mandalay Bay’s year older half-brother Anything Goes is also showing plenty of promise for trainer Steve Dolan, having won three and placed in two of his five starts to date.

O’Meara is now planning to give his gelding a short break.

“I might tip him out for a week or two and then reset him and probably race him a bit more next time in,” he said.

Meanwhile, O’Meara is looking forward to the return of Di Caprio, who was badly checked by Folklore when first-up at Addington Raceway earlier this month.

“He took quite a check in his first race. We were a bit worried about that but I think he still went pretty good from the whack he took,” O’Meara said.

The Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Cup (3200m), a race he ran fifth in two years ago, remains the main aim of the spring.

The Shadow Play entire was in good form last spring, placing in the Gr.3 Maurice Holmes Vase (2600m) before winning the Gr.3 New Brighton Cup (2600m), however, he was ruled out of the remainder of spring racing through foot issues.

“If he comes up as good as he did last year he will head towards the Cup,” O’Meara said.

“He was going well last year, winning the New Brighton Cup and then that corn broke out at the top of the coronet and that put him out for most of the season, so we don’t want that sort of luck again.”

O’Meara said the seven-year-old will likely next race in a fortnight.

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