IN Racing
Smiling Sam celebrates 1000 winners
Sam Spratt was both delighted and relieved to post a winning double at Matamata on Sunday to reach a notable personal milestone.
Paul Vetisse, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | August 28, 2023
Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

Sam Spratt was both delighted and relieved to post a winning double at Matamata on Sunday to reach a notable personal milestone.

The affable jockey enjoyed success aboard Phillip Stevens’ Thermoregulate and then closed out her day with victory on the Michael Rogers-trained Con Artist to reach 1000 domestic victories.

“It was awesome to get it done and great to get it off my back,” Spratt said.

“I didn’t think anyone knew about it and to be fair I had forgotten about it until people started talking about it and then I thought oh no, it will probably take me ages.

“It was lovely to get 999 and then the 1000.”

Spratt said she was thrilled to hit the four-figure mark aboard Rogers’ Sweynesse five-year-old Con Artist.

“It was really good to do it on Mike’s horse as I ride work for him most mornings,” she said.

The 38-year-old also couldn’t have picked a better venue to celebrate her milestone.

“It was quite fitting that it was at Matamata because it was 18 years pretty much to the day that I had my son Cody in Matamata,” Spratt said.

“I spent a fair bit of time there and he pretty much lived at the track when he was a baby and everyone helped to look after him.”

Spratt’s winning career tally includes 18 at Group One level, 15 Group Two victories, 26 Group Threes and 31 Listed events.

She enjoyed a long and successful association with the now retired trainer Stephen McKee and rode 186 winners for him, with the two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa the star of the show.

The son of Pentire won 10 times at the highest level with Spratt in the saddle for eight of them.

“He was the stand-out for sure, the horse of a lifetime and the second Telegraph (1200m) was pretty cool,” she said.

Mufhasa aside, Spratt also singled out her success aboard the Lisa Latta-prepared Belclare in last season’s Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) as another major highlight.

“That was quite cool because it had been a while since I had won a Group One and showed I could still do it,” she said.

“My next goal and being realistic I don’t know if I will make it, is to get 20 Group Ones to round it off but I’m certainly not complaining about 18.”

Spratt has no thoughts of retirement and is happy to continue plying her trade.

“I don’t think about it a huge amount and had ups and downs and falls. I’ve been lucky enough to have had a decent career and been able to set myself up,” she said.

“I’m still enjoying it and I’m happy enough to keep carrying on."

Belclare Con Artist Mufhasa Sam Spratt Thermoregulate