Te Awamutu visitor Catalyst showed his true worth when he destroyed his two-year-old rivals in the first race at New Plymouth on Saturday.
The Clayton Chipperfield-trained youngster had been expected to perform with distinction at his first start after a pair of impressive trial victories leading into his first-up run at Te Rapa last month.
Unfortunately for his many supporters he produced a lacklustre display when finishing well back in a race claimed by the ultra-impressive Subpoena.
Chipperfield was prepared to forgive his charge that run with punters keeping the faith as they installed the Darci Brahma gelding a $3.50 favourite for the 1200m contest. That faith was well rewarded as rider Michael McNab had Catalyst travelling sweetly behind the speed before exploding clear in the run home to win by a conservative five and a half lengths.
Chipperfield was quick to admit the debut performance of his charge had left him pondering what had gone wrong.
“He showed us today what we knew we had,” Chipperfield said.
“He won both of his trials, but we were scratching our heads after his first-up run, wondering where was he?
“It was good to see him do that today.
“He’s like an old stayer as you can put him wherever you like, he switches off and he’s got that real good kick when you ask him.
“He’s just an ideal horse.”
Chipperfield will now raise his sights with Catalyst who is owned by his breeder, the Oaks Stud principal, Dick Karreman.
“We’re going to start looking at something nice now,” he said.
“Clearly he can handle a wet track so we might as well keep him going.”
Rider Michael McNab was also enthusiastic abut the future prospects for Catalyst.
“That was easy wasn’t it,” McNab said.
“They thought that he would do that first up, but he ran into a strong race. Sometimes that Te Rapa track can throw sand back in their face and that might have got him, but he was strong today.
“He smashed them so it’s onwards and upwards.”
Catalyst is the out of Entrepreneur mare, Evana and hails from an all-star extended family that traces back to champion Australian galloper and sire, Lonhro and multiple Group One winner, Niello. – NZ Racing Desk