It may have taken a few years and 21 starts, but trainers Shaun and Emma Clotworthy may have found Malt Time’s new pet distance.
The seven-year-old mare, who had previously been kept to sprint distances, winning the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint (1200m) last November, was tested over a mile for the first time in the Gr.1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) at Hastings on Saturday, where she finished runner-up behind Mustang Valley.
Her connections were impressed with her last start run in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), and having placed in the Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) last year, were intrigued about testing her over further ground.
“We were going into a bit of the unknown with the mile. We weren’t sure whether she would get a mile because she does tend to travel a little bit keenly,” Shaun Clotworthy said.
“She had raced well in the first leg, the Tarzino, and she had improved. We were happy with her but weren’t sure of the track conditions (Heavy9), but she handled the cut in the track and raced well. We were rapt.”
Clotworthy has been pleased with the way she has pulled up and returned to their Byerley Park base, and said she will now go for a freshen-up before targeting further stakes spoils.
“She travelled back yesterday and ate up last night, so I was happy with her,” he said.
“She is going to have a freshen-up and then head to the Auckland Breeders’ race on the 25th (of November) at Pukekohe.
“Long-term, we may look at the Rich Hill Mile (Gr.2, 1600m) and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ (Gr.1, 1600m) at Te Aroha in the autumn.”
While enjoying the weekend’s result, Clotworthy has quickly shifted his attention to racing at Tauranga on Wednesday where he will be represented by four runners, including last start runner-up Lashana in the Cheers Tavern (1200m).
“Lashana raced well last time and I think she will handle the conditions, presuming the track will still be in that heavy range. She should be a good chance,” he said.
The stable will also be represented at Woodville’s postponed Thursday meeting by Peanutbutterfalcon in the Members’ Day Maiden Hurdle (3000m) and Empire State in the Tararua Scissor Lift Hire Maiden 2100 Amateur, with the latter pairing up with stable rider Lucas Olsen.
“Lucas is a pretty good amateur, he has had a couple of rides for a win and a second,” Clotworthy said.
“He is going down to ride a horse called Empire State, who did go to Hastings, but has stayed down with Paul Nelson who will take him across to Woodville for me.
“Peanutbutterfalcon needs to improve a little bit. He schools well but then gets to the races and doesn’t jump that great."