(By John Jenkins)
Being in or near the lead was imperative at today’s Waikato meeting at Te Rapa and jockey Matthew Cameron certainly adopted those tactics to a nicety when steering the well bred Birdsong to an all the way win in the maiden two-year-old event over 1200m.
The Snitzel two-year-old was making her race debut but had shown plenty of promise with two third placings in barrier trials and trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman were confident of a big first up performance.
Rider Matthew Cameron made good use of an inside barrier to kick the filly into a forward position as she disputed the pace with Roc Cha.
With the field struggling to hold their positions out wide, in the strong wind conditions, Birdsong stuck to the inside rail and maintained a powerful gallop in the home straight to score by 2-1/4 lengths from Roc Cha. Harlech made up good ground late to take third, a length further back.
Co-trainer Andrew Forsman was pleased with the effort by his charge who was a $400,000 purchase for owners, Sunlight Thoroughbreds, from the Pencarrow Stud draft during the Book 1 session at the National Yearling Sale last year.
“It was always the key, whoever got up on pace and she was the one who drew the best,” Forsman said.
“She has really improved since the trials and we have put the blinkers on and she has really sharpened up.
“She is a beautiful filly, well bred, and she is only going to get better with time.”
Cameron was delighted with the filly’s effort after employing the front-running tactics that saw the pair avoid the sand kickback that has been an issue at Te Rapa in recent months.
“That was the key (leading) as there is a lot of sand coming back as the other jocks are covered in it,” he said.
“It’s good to get these two-year-olds out and in the clear. It might not be the way to ride her but you get away with it first-up.”
Bred by Sir Peter Vela’s Pencarrow Thoroughbreds, Birdsong is the first foal of the Group Three winning Galileo mare Scintillula who was a runner-up at Group 1 level while also placing fourth in both the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks (2385m) and Group 1 Irish Oaks (2414m).