Rich Itch has started to repay the faith of trainer Shawn Mathrick recording a determined second victory at Sandown.
An 11-start maiden before success at Sale on August 15, Rich Itch claimed back-to-back victories with Wednesday’s win in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap.
Mathrick headed to Sandown races confident he had Rich Itch in good order, but steady rain before the first race led to a track downgrade following the gelding’s victory.
The trainer explained it was his wife’s birthday and said he couldn’t lose as she was also acting as the strapper of the gelding.
“I was a bit nervous as he doesn’t like rain-affected tracks and the track was softening up, but it’s my wife’s birthday and I thought he just can’t get beaten,” Mathrick said.
The trainer wants a ratings boost for Rich Itch so the gelding can sneak into some of the later spring stakes races.
Mathrick said Rich Itch had earlier feet problems, which the gelding was now over, and was also ridden upside down earlier in his career.
“We weren’t helping him by riding him forward and he was choking himself down,” Mathrick said.
“I said last time I thought this horse is a stakes horse and get him on top of the ground, you’ll see a better horse again.
“If I could find a 1400-metre race at Flemington during the carnival, that would be ideal, but we’ve got to get his rating up and that’s what we’ll work on.”
Apprentice Michael Poy combined with the Mike Moroney stable to record a race-to-race double.
He first scored aboard Bianco Nuovo in the Clanbrooke Racing Handicap before Meteor Light relished the soft conditions to score by 5-1/2 lengths in the Ladbrokes Back Yourself Handicap.
“I couldn’t believe how easy I got that lead, especially with the way the track’s been playing today,” Poy said after Meteor Light’s victory.
“After the first winner I asked if that was the best for the day and they said ‘no, this one was’.”