Matthews revels in Te Rapa triumph

  • user
  • May 08, 2023
  • No Comments

Jumps jockey Portia Matthews enjoyed a home cooked meal and a few celebratory drinks with family on Saturday night after taking out the first race on the card at Te Rapa aboard versatile performer Tweedledee.

The personable 25-year-old is one of the key figures in trainer Mark Oulaghan’s Awapuni stable after making the move to the master jumps trainers’ Palmerston North establishment last winter.

Matthews was in charge of their two runners at Te Rapa on Saturday and delivered the Tweedledee win in the Harcourts Hamilton Rentals Hurdle (2800m) and a third placing aboard Dal Kilchoan in the Ken & Roger Browne Memorial Steeplechase (3900m) later in the programme.

While delighted with the results of the northern excursion, Matthews was quick to acknowledge the role her family had played in the weekend success.

“That was a great result for us and I couldn’t have done it without Mum and Dad’s help,” she said.

“I was riding at Otaki on Friday and once I could make my way to Te Rapa, I was going to be looking after the horses by myself.

“Luckily Mum works about five minutes away from the track and she could meet the truck when the boys arrived on Friday afternoon and get them settled in.

“I also needed a couple of strappers for them on raceday, so it was both parents on duty for me and they did a great job.

“I think the best part was there was plenty of the Matthews family on hand to cheer us home and I got to stay Saturday night, so we celebrated at home which was a lot of fun.”

It has been a bit of a whirlwind journey for Matthews in the past ten months as she took the opportunity to further her riding and horse handling experience in Australia over the summer months while the Oulaghan stable was on restricted duty.

“Mark doesn’t have many summer runners, so I had the opportunity to travel to Aussie, where I got to work for some of the top stables over there and have a little bit of a holiday as well,” Matthews said.

“I started off with Anthony Cummings in Sydney and then went to Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, while I also schooled a few for Henry Dwyer, worked at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale and also spent a little bit of time with my first boss, Shelley Houston, who has moved over there.

“I had such a good time and it was amazing to see how people do things over there compared to back here in New Zealand.

“I think one of the big things is that we are quite relaxed here whilst in those big Aussie stables it is full on all the time.

“I was like a sponge and took it all in and managed to make some really good contacts.

“It was fascinating to see how they mix up their training routines with things like beach work and treadmills.

“It also helped me with my professionalism in my riding and with the work I do in the stable at home and when I got back I was rearing to go.”

Matthews is looking forward to the next few months after returning just in time to meet up with the bulk of the Oulaghan winter team as they get ready for their winter campaigns.

“We’ve got about twenty in work and when I got back it was the same week as our jumpers came back in after doing their prep work,” she said.

“It’s been pretty hectic as Chris Dell has been out with a broken leg, so we’ve even had Mark ride a couple in work at times as we get the team up and going.

“To get a win and a placing on Saturday was very satisfying and I’m hoping it’s the sign of things to come for us this winter.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.