Conditions at Pukekohe yesterday were extremely testing, with big margins among spread-out fields, but they played into the hands of Matamata mare Catarina as she proved too tough for her rivals over 2100 metres.
The Tony Gillies-trained six-year-old had demonstrated her affinity for the heavy winter surfaces when successful at her home track in late July and she did it again yesterday, dominating the closing stages of the Rating 75 contest.
Handled confidently by leading rider Michael Coleman, Catarina bided her time towards the rear in the early stages before improving steadily to be within striking distance with 600 metres to run.
Coleman urged the mare to the front halfway down the straight, keeping her challengers at bay to score by just over a length.
Gillies was quick to acknowledge the strength of his charge when questioned about the performance.
“This is her ground, the wetter the better,” he said. “She’s pretty genuine and we always thought she had a future. As long as the tracks stay like this she will be suited. I’m not sure where to go next, but it is likely she will line up again in a fortnight.”
The victory continued a run of success for her sire El Hermano, who completed a winning double yesterday when Worthiswaitngold took out the last race on the programme. Worthiswaitngold was ridden by Jason Waddell, who made it two wins from just the two rides after scoring earlier on Suliman in his first day back from an injury-enforced lay-off.