Matua Tana turns back the clock at Addington
By Michael Guerin
Matua Tana is going to be given another shot at the big time.
And the most respected trainer of trotters in the country Paul Nairn says he has at least the motor to match our trotting elite.
Matua Tana recorded his first win since October 2020 when he simply outstayed his rivals in the main trot at Addington on Friday overcoming his 30m handicap in typical Nairn style.
That means balancing up early then rolling forward to control the race, running the sprint out of your rivals and finding more in the last 100m.
Yep, the eight-year-old son of Love You ticked all those boxes.
It was only his second start back with former trainer Nairn, who he started his career with before spending time in the north with Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett, for whom he won one race.
He really made his name with the Greg and Nina Hope on the beach through the middle of 2020 but he suffered a mystery injury that saw him spend nearly 18 months away from the race, re-emerging for Nairn two weeks ago.
“Initially they thought he had a fractured shoulder but it was never really found and I am not sure if it was arthritis but he seems okay at the moment.
“I got him back because one of his owners Ben Smith, who also bred him, helps me out most mornings and does a great job.”
While Matua Tana hardly looks fool-proof when trotting in his races Nairn says he is smoother at home and he thinks there is improvement on Friday night’s effort.
“The way he works at home is as good as any horse I have had work there so we will look for a race for him here (Addington) next week and if he goes as well as we hope then we will look at taking him north for the Rowe Cup.”
Matua Tana could have plenty of stablemate companionship, with dual-gaited Outamyway having worked well on Friday and another possible Rowe Cup contender.
“And I have my two three-year-olds, Masterly and El Conqueror, racing on Sunday in the Sires’ Stakes Prelude at Rangiora and if they go well, which I think they will, they could go to Alexandra Park too.”
Addington’s other feature on Friday night was one by exciting mare Darling Me, who just beat Shan Noble in a 1:55.3 mile rate for the 1980m mobile.