Matua Tana ready to return in style
By Jonny Turner
Two stirring trial performances have Matua Tana ready to make a big return to Addington on Friday night.
The trotter heads back to the track to start his spring campaign after spelling following a mistake filled northern campaign.
If his trials are anything to go by, the big striding squaregaiter is ready to turn his manners around when he takes on a small but select field in race 3.
The trotter gets a key head-start from his 25m handicap on big name race rivals Oscar Bonavena (45m) and Mataderos (35m).
But trainer Paul Nairn knows all too well that advantage won’t mean a lot if his trotter doesn’t bring his best manners.
“He has trialled well and trotted well, so we are hopeful he can replicate that at the races.”
“In that grade you can’t make a mistake, it is too tough.”
“Hopefully he can get away and not make a mistake and put himself in the race.”
Matua Tana won both of his recent trials at Ashburton, running 27sec closing 400m splits in both.
Those excellent hit-outs come on the back of his master trainer tinkering with his shoeing and his gear.
“I have had times when I haven’t always been happy with him, but just with a bit of trial and error I have tried different things.”
“With the way we have got him rigged up at the moment with his shoeing and his gear, I am hopeful that we are on the right track.”
When taking on a field packed with legitimate winning chances, Mataderos will attempt to put a surprise mid-race gallop behind him.
Oscar Bonavena will undoubtedly strip fitter for his fresh up fourth at Addington last month.
But the star trotter faces a huge task from his 45m handicap.
Another Group One winning star has a challenge on his hands in Friday night’s feature pace at Addington.
B D Joe heads into race 5 with a perfect standing start record, having stepped away in all three of his race day starts.
But the Steve and Amanda Telfer trained pacer broke badly at the start of a recent trial.
The star four-year-old then headed back to the trials last week, stepping away cleanly ahead of his return to racing on Friday night.
In his favour, B D Joe has just one horse beside him on the 30m back mark in his 2600m return, in Mikey Maguire.