An unwanted former Darley-owned mare could give Cranbourne horseman Shawn Mathrick his biggest payday to date when she lines-up in the Tattersall’s Tiara 2014 at Eagle Farm this weekend.
Mathrick picked up the Commands five-year-old for $61,000 from last year’s William Inglis and Sons August Thoroughbred Sales with an eye on her future as a broodmare post-racing.
He has already given her two Group 1 assignments however and on Saturday she’ll be tested at elite level for the third time when she jumps a roughie in the markets for the $500,000 Group 1 Sky Racing Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) in Brisbane.
“I was more looking at her as a broodmare when I bought her, because she’s a beautiful big, roomy mare and she’s got beautiful breeding,” Mathrick told Racing Victoria.
“I knew she had bad feet, but I thought if I could get her feet right and pick up a couple of city races it’d be good.
“So I thought she’ll be a good pick up and I could breed something nice, but she’s gone past what I thought she could do (on the track).”
Formerly prepared for Darley by Peter Snowden she was never raced in stakes’ company with her last trainer.
It was then only five runs in for Mathrick when Gig made her Black Type debut running third in the Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) in January this year at Flemington.
Two runs later and she was in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) field at Moonee Valley running a credible sixth beaten under two lengths by subsequent Doomben 10,000 winner Spirit Of Boom in a stellar effort when up in grade.
Her other Group 1 run was another sixth place finish this time however by a notable margin.
Six lengths separated Gig and the winner Drieftontein, who she faces off against again in the Tatt’s Tiara on Saturday, in Adelaide’s Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) on April 26.
Two third place finishes followed before her luckless last start effort in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight ago.
Drawn in the second widest gate (12) that day Gig was checked early and was forced to the back of the field.
She was also widest round the bend and had too much work to do, eventually finishing an honest 11th five lengths off the Gai Waterhouse-trained winner Cosmic Endeavour.
That’s an effort Mathrick is willing to forgive and forget with Gig looking to exact her revenge on those that beat her home in the Tattersall’s Tiara this Saturday.
“Her run wasn’t bad, the track was like concrete and she just didn’t let go,” Mathrick said.
If successful on Saturday Gig will become the second Darley reject to win a Group 1 during this year’s Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival joining Queensland Derby champ Sonntag who handed new trainer Henry Dwyer with his maiden top level win.
“I suppose it’s a bit more exciting than an everyday race…if we win it’ll certainly be a different story,” Mathrick said.
“It is a big thing, I suppose, and she’s going super, so it is exciting.”
He’s also confident that with predicted rain in Brisbane leading up to Tiara Day that the conditions will suit Gig better this time round.
“It’s well documented that she’s got bad feet,” he said.
“We’re supposed to get rain Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so if there is any give in the track you’ll see a totally different horse.”
While the winner Cosmic Endeavour is the $5 favourite in the latest Tattersall’s Tiara odds, and runner-up Driefontein is at $11, Gig is at the other end of the markets.
She’s the $81 roughie in Tiara betting, a price way over the odds for Mathrick and one he believes she will prove much better than.
He’s engaged the services of Dale Missen for the ride, the duo drawn well in barrier two.
Missen replaces Gig’s last start jockey Chris Munce for the ride having partnered with the mare for plenty of trackwork over the past three weeks in Queensland.
“He works for the bloke where I’ve got her stabled and he’s been doing a bit of trackwork on her, so he knows her and I thought better the devil you know than the one you don’t,” Mathrick said of the former Victorian apprentice.
If you think Gig is worth a sneaky Place bet on for the Tattersall’s Tiara on Saturday make sure you head to Ladbrokes.com.au where you’ll find all the season’s hottest horse racing odds.
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