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Honneur Noir comes of age at Matamata

  • Sat, 24 Mar 2018
  • Richard Edmunds
Honneur Noir (Sam Spratt) draws away from a talented field of mares at Matamata.

Honneur Noir (Sam Spratt) draws away from a talented field of mares at Matamata.

Emerging mare Honneur Noir continued her breakthrough campaign with a strong victory in today’s $30,000 NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race at Matamata.

The four-year-old daughter of Falkirk had won three of her eight career starts coming into today’s 1300-metre race, with all three victories coming in her last five appearances. She was a dominant three-length winner at Matamata last time out.

She faced a sterner task today, with stakes performers Showemup, Rising Shot and Ja Ja Binks and rising star mares Yearn and Rikki Tikki Tavi among her opposition, but she passed the test in style.

Rider Sam Spratt sent Honneur Noir forward out of the gates, trailing the early leader Indecision, but lost her position when the topweight Yearn circled the field to challenge for the lead 600 metres from home.

Yearn kicked in the straight, but Honneur Noir warmed up in the last 200 metres. With a five-kilogram weight advantage, Honneur Noir finished over the top of Yearn to win by a length and a quarter.

Raced by the Royal Oaks Racing Syndicate and the Eternal Optimists Syndicate, Honneur Noir has now won four of her nine starts and more than $53,500 in prize-money.

“It’s very exciting,” said Te Aroha trainer Peter Lock, who has enjoyed one of his finest seasons with 16 wins including two Group Threes with Hiflyer.

“This is a mare who’s really developed and improved a huge amount over the last two or three months. It was a good field today and she won it very nicely.

“There’s a huge syndicate of owners who are having a great time with this mare. Getting this result for them today means a lot – it’s as good as a Group race.

“We decided we’d see what happens today before making any plans with her. If she performed very well, we thought we could start to look at bigger things with her. We’re going to have to do that now. Whether it’ll be in this campaign or next season I’m not sure yet, but she’s a very exciting mare with a lot ahead of her.”