Super Spirit caps big day for Oulaghan and Matthews

Standout hurdler Berry The Cash will deservedly dominate the headlines, but his stablemate Super Spirit (NZ) (Super Easy) collected a win of his own later on the Te Rapa card on Saturday to complete a big day for trainer Mark Oulaghan and jockey Portia Matthews.

Less than two hours after Oulaghan and Matthews teamed up in another big-race triumph with Berry The Cash in the Fairview Motors Waikato Hurdle (3200m), Super Spirit lined up for maiden steeplechase honours in the Waikato/BOP Racehorse Owners Association Steeplechase (3900m) and prevailed in a stirring contest.

The seven-horse field was quickly whittled down to four within the first half a lap as Renegade Fighter and Civil Unrest parted company with their riders and Banks Road became detached and was pulled up out of the race. The remaining quartet raced in a tight bunch for the next circuit of the Te Rapa steeplechase course, but then Super Spirit and Sweet Taboo began to separate themselves from the other pair.

Super Spirit and Sweet Taboo drew more than 30 lengths ahead of the third-placed Devoted and fought out a thrilling two-horse war down the Te Rapa straight.

Super Spirit produced the better jump of the two at the final fence and looked like he had the race in safe keeping, but Sweet Taboo rebuilt his momentum and clawed his way back up alongside the leader. In a desperate final 100m, Super Spirit dug deep and clung on to win by a short neck.

“It’s been a pretty pleasing day for the stable and for Portia as well,” Oulaghan said. “Berry The Cash just keeps fronting up, and I was really pleased with the performance by Super Spirit too.

“It was only a maiden steeplechase today, but he did a good job. He’s going the right way and hopefully he can continue to progress the same way and perhaps be competitive in some stronger steeplechase company in the future.”

Super Spirit was previously a two-time winner on the flat, so his 28-start career has now produced a total of three wins, four placings and $54,200 in stakes.

The formidable partnership between Oulaghan and Matthews has now netted 10 wins from 65 starts. Five of those successes have come from Matthews’ nine rides aboard the Grand National, Awapuni and Waikato Hurdle hero Berry The Cash.

Related posts