Talented jockey Matt Cameron is looking forward to a week-long Fiji freshen up after providing the racing community with a reminder of his riding prowess at Rotorua on Saturday where he took out both feature races with copybook performances.
Cameron, who took an 11-month hiatus from his career in December 2020, has been making steady progress after returning to the saddle earlier in the season.
Since making his comeback he has put together 36 victories, with eight of those at stakes level including Group One wins aboard The Chosen One in the Thorndon Mile (1600m) and the Sistema Stakes (1200m) on Lickety Split.
On Saturday he guided Sinarahma to victory in the Gr.3 Rotorua Cup (2200m) for his former boss Allan Sharrock before providing Cambridge trainer Andrew Forsman with the first stakes victory of his solo training career when successful aboard Francesca in the Gr.3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m).
Both victories held special significance for Cameron who was delighted to achieve the winning double.
“Allan Sharrock was my first boss when I was an apprentice, so to win a stakes for him on a mare having her last start was pretty neat,” Cameron said.
“She (Sinarahma) is not an easy ride and with her inside draw I thought we could get into a little bit of bother.
“She hit her usual flat spot across the top, but thankfully it was only for 50m and not 200m, as I could pick her up and get her going and she just charged to the line to win comfortably.
“She did look like a weight certainty when she only had 53.5kgs on her back and was the best horse in the race.
“The topweight Big Mike is a grand campaigner but when he was giving her 7.5kgs there was no way he could beat her.
“Allan has done a great job with her and It was good to get the job done for him.”
Cameron has also enjoyed a long and fruitful association with Forsman and his former training partner Murray Baker, who retired at the start of the month.
“I first rode for Murray a fair bit when I was an apprentice and then for Murray and Andrew when they were in partnership,” he said.
“I think I have had over 300 winners for them and plenty of black type success, but it was pretty special to be the one to give Andrew his first stakes winner with him now out on his own.
“She (Francesca) is a high-class mare but she has plenty of niggles and issues and deserved to have some black-type to her name for all she has been through.
“I was a little worried about her running out a strong 1400m first up and when they started attacking me at the 600m like a tsunami, I was a little worried.
“To her credit she then showed why she was the best horse in that field as she stuck to the inside and gave me an awesome kick as we straightened up and was just too tough in the straight.”
Cameron will now hop on a plane to Fiji on Tuesday for a week of sun and sand and can’t wait to enjoy some leisure time before heading back for a relaxed schedule over the winter months.
“Since I made the return to riding, I think I’ve been in career best form although the number of winners I have had may not convey that,” he said.
“The break did me the world of good and was what I needed at the time.
“Obviously I would like more winners, but I’m pleased with how things have gone and I’m looking forward to the next season.
“I’m off for a week in Fiji, which will be great and then when I come back, I will probably not be as active through the winter before ramping things up again for the spring.”