Catalyst brilliant in Northland Breeders’ Stakes

Boom three-year-old Catalyst treated his
three-year-old rivals with contempt when he produced a devastating home
straight sprint to capture the Gr.3 Cambridge Stud Northland Breeders’ Stakes
(1200m) at Ruakaka.

The Darci Brahma gelding overcame some
trouble early in the run home to dash clear in the closing stages of the
contest, winning with consummate ease by over two and a half lengths from
pacemaker Exuberant with local galloper Zelenski back in third.

Successful in the Listed El Roca-Sir Colin
Meads Trophy (1200m) at his last start after settling on the speed and then
dashing away at the top of the Hastings home straight, this time Catalyst had
to prove his worth after being ridden in behind by regular pilot Troy Harris.

Harris settled the raging hot favourite in
midfield this time and rounding the home corner the pair were briefly pocketed
behind a wall of horses as Harris searched for an inside gap. When that didn’t
eventuate, Harris hooked his charge sideways and into clear running where he
hit top speed within a few strides as he dashed past his rivals for a stunning

“It makes the job easy with a guy like
him,” Harris said.

“I ended up in a good spot but
straightening I had to make the choice whether to kick up or pull back.

“Once I got out it was all over.

“I wanted to teach him a little bit as then
we have options going into the other races.

“He could be the best horse I have ever

Connections will now turn their attention
to the Gr.2 Sacred Falls Hawke‘s Bay Guineas (1400m) at Hastings and then the
Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton after that
plan was confirmed by trainer Clayton Chipperfield.

“It was good to see him do that and prove
that he has the ability that we all thought he had,” Chipperfield said.

“I was getting a little bit worried though
at the 200m when he couldn’t get out.

“He just drops and glides as his turn of
foot is phenomenal.

“We had planned on the same sort of ride
today (as Hastings) but that didn’t pan out although he got a decent run

“He (Harris) rode for luck and luckily for
us we got it.”

Catalyst storms to victory at Ruakaka
Photo: Trish Dunell

Chipperfield is still shaking his head
about his good fortune in having a potential superstar in his stable after only
taking up training on his own in the last twelve months.

“I’ve only really just started taking this
game (training) seriously and to do this in the first year, with a horse like
this, is a dream start,” he said.

“We have three weeks now until the Hawke’s
Bay Guineas and then another month to the 2000 Guineas.

“He might have a jump-out or trial between
those two races but that is the plan at this stage.”

Bred and owned by The Oaks Stud principal, Dick
Karreman, Catalyst is out of the Entrepreneur mare, Evana and hails from an
all-star extended family that traces back to champion Australian galloper and
sire, Lonhro and multiple Group One winner, Niello.

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