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Outstanding Guineas result for global player

4 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Matt Cameron pulled the right rein when he committed to Madison County (NZ) (Pins) in Saturday’s G1 New Zealand Al Basti Equiworld Dubai 2000 Guineas to deliver a result with international significance at Riccarton.

The leading jockey had the choice of the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained representatives and opted for the bay to successfully carry the colours of the China Horse Club, whose year has been highlighted by the unbeaten American Triple Crown hero Justify (USA) (Scat Daddy {USA}), to victory.

“I had the choice and I’ve had a few practice runs at it and I’ve finally got it right,” Cameron said.

"No disrespect to The Chosen One, his time will come, but Madison Country has proved himself the best 3-year-old around.” - Matt Cameron.

“No disrespect to The Chosen One, his time will come, but Madison Country has proved himself the best 3-year-old around.”

China Horse Club Chairman, Teo Ah Khing and daughter Johannah pose alongside Andrew Forsman and jockey Matt Cameron after the trophy presentation for the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (Photo credit: Race Images South)

Cameron had partnered Madison Country to victory in the G2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas and a last-start third in the G3 Sarten Memorial, in which they were back in a slowly-run race and finished off resolutely.

Relishing the wide open spaces of Riccarton, they enjoyed an economical run behind the leading pack and, once into the clear on straightening, they asserted their superiority to leave no excuses for the beaten brigade.

“They went quickly down the back and then slowed up a bit and I had the choice to go inside or out,” Cameron said.

“I went out and I know he’s got an electric turn of foot and he was really dominant.” - Matt Cameron.

“I went out and I know he’s got an electric turn of foot and he was really dominant.”

It represented a second Guineas for Cameron, who won on Xtravagant (NZ) (Pentire {GB}) two years ago.

Forsman said they had labelled Madison County as a Classic contender following an autumn success at Hastings.

“This was the number one target after his 2-year-old win, we labelled him then as a Guineas horse.” - Andrew Forsman.

“This was the number one target after his 2-year-old win, we labelled him then as a Guineas horse.

“The main worry was the track, it was a bit niggly and the horse to beat Dawn Patrol went up the inside and Matt got the split and it was a beautiful ride.”

The significance of a Group 1 victory for the owners of Madison Country wasn’t lost on Forsman.

“It’s great for New Zealand racing to have them here and to get a result like this will hopefully produce future investment in the New Zealand industry.” - Andrew Forsman.

“It’s great for New Zealand racing to have them here and to get a result like this will hopefully produce future investment in the New Zealand industry.”

Baker and Forsman previously won with the ill-fated Atlante (Fastnet Rock) in 2013 and success with Madison County inflicted a first defeat on the runner-up.

Dawn Patrol (NZ) (Dawn Approach {IRE}) had won two minor events to earn a start and he acquitted himself strongly under jockey Jason Waddell.

“He’s gone a wonderful race and it was a beautiful ride.” - Frank Ritchie.

“He’s gone a wonderful race and it was a beautiful ride,” trainer Frank Ritchie said. “He just got beaten by a far better horse on the day.

“The horse has still got a bit to learn, but he has improved out of sight and this trip will help him in the long term.”

Sir Nate (NZ) (Nadeem) raced one off the fence and close to the pace and he boxed on gamely in the straight with In A Twinkling ((Fastnet Rock) fourth.

The next runner home was More Wonder (NZ) (Mossman), who did incredibly well to finish so close after making a mess of the start.