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Matchett Picks His Battles

Daughter of Act Of War will be back in 2022 for July

Paul Matchett’s SA Triple Tiara champion War Of Athena has been withdrawn from the Vodacom Durban July and will take on her own sex, including the likes of Snaith champion Captain’s Ransom, in the Jonnson Workwear Gr1 Garden Province Stakes on the same afternoon.

Veteran conditioner Paul Matchett withdrew War Of Athena at 08h05 on Thursday morning from the July and told the Sporting Post that the 3yo star had her whole career ahead of her still.

Muzi Yeni salutes Team War Of Athena (Pic- Chase Liebenberg)

“When you have a young prizefighter, one doesn’t throw them into the ring with streetfighters. You allow them time to develop and mature and we can come back next year to win the Vodacom Durban July,” added Matchett.

He said that the July was inevitably a rough and tough race and that his filly was still maturing.

“We have kept her going for ten months and she has given us her heart and soul. We will rather take on her own sex and clash with the likes of Captain’s Ransom in the Garden Province – and that should make for a fascinating contest,” he added.

He said that he had discussed the plans with the Wentzels, who have enjoyed such a wonderful season with their small string of horses.

“I don’t have the luxury that the big yards enjoy of a whole bunch of top horses. When I get one as good as her, I am going to look after her every step of the journey.”

Muzi Yeni will ride War Of Athena in the Garden Province.

Paul Matchett has had a remarkable run of success in recent years with budget priced stars.

A real soldier, War Of Athena made it six graded victories on the trot when winning the Gr1 Woolavington 2000 at Hollywoodbets Greyville at the end of May.

She was bred by Summerhill Stud and is out of Requiem mare Qaphela.

A R30 000 buy from the 2019 Ready To Run Sale, she is raced by Roy and Dr Rose Wentzel.

The Zimbabwe born Paul Matchett had his first job in racing as a starting stall handler.

After matriculating in 1980 he worked in a bank as a teller for a year, but quickly realised it wasn’t the life for him. He was then taken on as an assistant trainer by the legendary Ginger Halfpenny, where he spent five years. He then moved on to Neil Bruss for another five-year stint.

In 1990 he received his trainer’s licence and set out on his own.

It wasn’t long before he made his mark as a three-time Zimbabwe champion trainer before relocating down here in 2002.

  • Vodacom Durban July final declarations close at 11h00 on Monday 21 June.
  • The announcement of the final field of 18 plus 2 reserve runners, and their barrier draws,  will take place on Tuesday 22 June.

Here are the weights for the Garden Province Stakes:

Fillies and Mares at Weight-For-Age
WFA: 2yrs-9.5kgs 3yrs-1kgs
No Apprentice Allowance
11 Lady Of Steel Accepted (4F) 60 111 BA J A Janse van Vuuren
3 Mount Laurel (4F) 60 108 A Wendy Whitehead
13 Rio’s Winter (4F) 60 105 AT Stephen Moffatt
12 Cockney Pride (4F) 60 99 AT Corne Spies
10 Preferential (4F) 60 97 BA Alyson Wright
15 Flashy Kaitrina (4F) 60 80 BA Kumaran Naidoo
16 Captain’s Ransom Accepted (3F) 59 126 A Justin Snaith
1 War Of Athena (3F) 59 122 A Paul Matchett
9 Princess Calla Accepted (3F) 59 118 A Adam Marcus
6 Chat Ching (3F) 59 114 A Candice Bass-Robinson
14 Sentbydestiny (3F) 59 111 A Candice Dawson
8 Caya Coco (3F) 59 110 A Glen Kotzen
4 Freestate Star (3F) 59 108 A Dennis Drier
18 Love Bomb (3F) 59 108 BA Frank Robinson
5 Zarina (3F) 59 107 A Candice Bass-Robinson
2 Zimbaba (3F) 59 106 A Sean Tarry
7 Hugs Accepted (3F) 59 105 A Peter Muscutt
17 Ecstatic Green (3F) 59 102 A Sean Tarry
19 Only The Brave (3F) 59 97 AT Paul Matchett

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21 comments on “Matchett Picks His Battles

  1. RIAAN Koekemoer says:

    Very Silly Excuses here, then your other Fillies must also not Run, because of a Tough Race. Igugu was on the same Path as War of Athena, and went on to win the July. *edited

  2. Dan Maniram says:

    I think Paul Matchett is wise by withdrawing WOA from the July. Firstly on collateral form, WOA couldn’t beat the 3 yr old MK’s Pride in Joburg, so the chances of her beating the top 3yr olds from Cape Town in the July would seem a bit far fetched. Anyway, she’s had a hard season and Paul would do well by wrapping her up in cotton wool and unleashing her in the Summer Cup later this year, after the GP stakes. We would then see what what WOA is really capable of.

  3. Dave McGillewie says:

    I think it’s a sensible decision – seems like it’s just not possible to keep a horse on the boil for too long and it’ll make for a more interesting Garden Province

  4. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…It must of been a hard decision for the connections to make,,but I think it’s the right decision,, are we in for a cracking race in the GP… Relax Justin we still a good 2 weeks away

  5. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Muzi for the biggest double in his life ????????

  6. Keith sing says:

    well played muzi big race double mr bank manager i will become knocking on your door

  7. Donald Bradshaw says:

    I was surprised the WOA was even nominated for this years July and feel for the ante post punters that thought she might win , backed her , and have now lost those funds. She is a brilliant filly but the July would have been a bridge too far for her this year at the age of 3 after a very successful season of beating all comers with ease at the very top level of fillies racing.

  8. Frederick Low says:

    Summer Pudding did the same last year. Namely winning all 3 legs of the Triple Tiara & Woolavington Stakes & then scratched from the July.

  9. Harold Narainsamy says:

    Nobody is more relieved than Musi Yeni. He won’t have to make what would have been the toughest decision of his life. A big race double is on the cards for him come the 1st Saturday of July.

  10. Dev Govender says:

    The vast majority of owners consider the July to be the be all and end all, and are just happy to have a runner in the race, without due regard for whether it’s the best decision for the horse. I’m glad that the owners here have put the filly first. I love War Of Athena and shouted her home in all her races, but I don’t seriously think she could have challenged the boys in this year’s July. For what it’s worth, I’d have preferred to see her rested after the Woolavington because she’s had a very busy campaign. It does however mean that the Garden Province will rival the July itself for excitement and anticipation this year, given the clash between these two star fillies, and will also settle the Equus award for 3yo filly.

  11. Frederick Low says:

    Captain’s Ransom will be too good for War Of Athena in the Garden Province

  12. Lg says:

    Ipi tombi won it at 3. Against a set of horses that were name brands. I believe that Athena would have done well if she is a top class filly.

    1. Editor says:

      Logan Govender

  13. John Bryant says:

    While it is 100% up to the connections to make what they believe to be the right decision, I hope that they don’t regret it in 2022. WOA (like Igugu) had no hard races leading up to the July (triple Tiara & Woolavington). Igugu had to carry 55kg – WOA only 52kg. The only lose in her 3yo career (after the delayed Thekwini Stakes) was to MK’s Pride where she has to go round the field from her draw and set the pace and was caught on the post. MK’s Pride is at his best over 1400, having beaten GTGL in the Hawaii Stakes and beaten 0.5L by C22 in the Tony Ruffel Stakes. He does not quite stay a mile on was about 4 points inferior to Linebacker and C22 in the SA Guineas and Dingaans.
    WOA beat 4YO Queen Supreme 1.75L in the Ipi Tombe (2kgs better off at WFA) and so ran the same rating as Queen Supreme. QS then went on to win her second Paddock Stakes and is on route to contest the F&M Breeders Cup in the US. If WOA beats Captains Ransom(126) in the GP then her rating will go to about 128 and in the probable absence of RB next year, WOA is likely to allocated 59-60kg in the July 2022. Like SP , WOA will likely be scratched because of her weight.

  14. Sandy says:

    Paul knows what he is doing. He is a master conditioner
    Leave it to him

  15. Desiree says:

    War of Athena is a wonder horse and making the best decision for her is about weighing options and gut feel. So mix those ingredients and so far Paul Matchett seems to have the recipe for her. I am looking forward to seeing her sport her stuff in the GP stakes and then I am sure she will be treated to a long spa holiday like the queen she is

  16. Kevin says:

    This is Justin’s race Captain’s Ransom will blow the field

  17. Gary Grant says:

    Can’t wait for WOA to give the cape horse a hiding!

  18. PL.NEL says:

    Mr Machett I can understand. To the owners,, WOA might not be my first selection for this July,, But this filly has got the job done and the July seldom has a second chance. We have had numerous winners of this race that were not the best in the field and were rather reliant on circumstances and jockeyship, the fact is if you don’t have a ticket… Her racing style would see her most probably not in the bunch roughing it. Yeni might be very confident with favorite but the race quite often has its own surprises. Pity, she would have added a touch of class to what is developing into handicapper created cherry favorite sprinkled with some young hopefuls on top of mostly overrated oldies. Personally I would like to see the MR96 blast this lot. HAHAHA

  19. Collin Devanpershad says:

    Woa is a top filly. She had a tough jhb campaign. Still 3 years old. Owners n trainer did the right thing…. She will win on sat 3rd july bcos captain ransom n snaith in kzn are a bit flat.. N i think captain ransom will be withdrawn… As much as i wanted woa to race wit capt ransom… Be as it may guys… Woa is a champ n the champ muzi nw can win it bith got the greenlight n war of athena. Wud be a fitting occasion for muzi a well liked jock…..

  20. Dan Maniram says:

    War of Athena is a lovely filly with lots of class. However, she’s had a hard season and despite the huge draw advantage compared to Captains Ransom, I personally feel that the latter has a better finishing burst of acceleration and should prevail in the GP. Fourie is going to overcome the draw and CR to mow the field down over the last 100m.

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