Like most of the racegoers at Matamata on Saturday, trainer Nick Bishara was concerned about the rain forecast to strike the meeting during the day.
What was different however, was that while the majority wanted to get through the day without any significant moisture, Bishara was fervently hoping for the heavens to open to assist his quality mare Cherry Lane (NZ) (Redwood) in her bid to win the open 2000m contest on the card.
Bishara got his wish as steady showers saw the track downgraded from a Dead4 to a Slow9 by the time Cherry Lane set foot on the track in race 8 and she didn’t disappoint as she ran her rivals ragged to win by an incredible 13 lengths.
Sent straight to the front by rider Tegan Newman, the seven-year-old daughter of Redwood was more than six lengths clear for most of the way, before increasing her tempo over the final 600m to decimate the field.
Bishara, who describes Cherry Lane as a tough and bad-tempered tart, knew the mare was ready to fire after becoming increasingly cantankerous during the build-up to the meeting.
“She really is a bit of a tart to deal with and this week she was at her worst, so I knew she was near her best for the race,” he said.
“She was trying to bite and kick anything that got near her, but I guess when they come out and win like that you tend to forgive them.
“She just grows another leg when it rains on the day, so I thought the weather forecast was in our favour.
“I was fretting a bit early on in the day as it looked like it might not come, but when the rain set in around race five, I thought we would be tough to beat.
“Sometimes in a small field fancy tactics can get you beaten, so I said to Tegan to get her to the front and put the foot down, ease up down the back and then go again from the 600m.
“As it turned out she was travelling that easy that she just kept her rolling and she never looked like stopping in the run home.”
The victory took the mare’s winning tally to 10 from 40 starts for her owners John and Victoria Carter and Ross Powell, who also bred her from their Street Cry mare, Street Law.
“I’m thrilled for John, Victoria and Ross as they are big supporters of my stable and it is nice to be able to repay them with wins like this,” Bishara said.
“At this stage I think she will have one more run, probably in the Manawatu Cup (Gr.3, 2300m) and then she can go for a spell while the tracks are hard over the summer.
“I haven’t thought any further ahead than that, but as long as she comes up well from her break then there could be some nice races for her in the autumn when the tracks have some give in them.”
While he may not have the services of Cherry Lane for the summer, Bishara is looking forward to competing with the younger members of his team over the next few months.
“I’m really excited about our prospects as I have some lovely young horses that are getting ready to step out,” he said.
“There are one or two that I have high hopes for including a three-year-old called King Mondo who we have nominated for the New Zealand Derby (Gr.1, 2400m).
“He is a half-brother to the New Zealand Cup (Gr.3, 3200m) winner Mondorani, so stamina shouldn’t be a problem and I think once he gets over a trip, he could be a very nice horse.”