Mascarinto bursts into Karaka Million contention

A jaw-dropping performance on debut at Matamata on Saturday has sent Mascarinto (NZ) (Per Incanto) straight to the top of the order of entry for the $1m DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) here at Ellerslie on 22 January.

Bought by Steven Cole Racing for $120,000 from the Karaka 2021 Book 1 draft of proven Karaka Million consignors Haunui Farm, Mascarinto earned $17,250 with his front-running romp in Saturday’s Matamata Veterinary Services 2YO (1000m).

Overlooked as a $20 outsider in a nine-horse field, Mascarinto exploded out of the starting gate and went straight to the lead with Sarah Macnab in the saddle. That was where he stayed, blasting clear of his opposition in the straight and opening up a dominant winning margin of six and three-quarter lengths.

Mascarinto now has a clear lead in the Karaka Million order of entry, with fellow Matamata winners Gwen Stephani (NZ) (El Roca) and Wessex (NZ) (Turn Me Loose) sitting in second and third place with $8,700 and $8,400 respectively.

“We’ve had a high opinion of him since he won his first jumpout at Pukekohe,” trainer Steven Cole told NZ Racing Desk.

“Andrew Calder rode in his latest jumpout at Ellerslie and told me afterwards he thought he was a very serious horse, which was good to hear and confirmed my own thinking.

“With the travel he had to undertake and it being his first start, I was just hoping he could run in the money, but he went a whole lot better than that. I don’t think Sarah even really touched him with the whip, so he was very impressive.

“This is the first horse that Murray Notman has raced with us, and it’s fantastic to get a win like that on the board. Murray is a harness racing enthusiast, although he and Dad (David Cole) have been friends for years. He decided to get into a galloper with us, and you couldn’t have asked for a better start.

“We initially weren’t going to pay up for the Karaka Million with this guy, but we ended up making the payment two days before the cut-off, which looks like a good decision now. The win means we can take our time and let him get over this run before we have to look for his next target.”

The next two opportunities for Karaka Million hopefuls to try to boost their bank balance will both come in the first week of next month, with a $12,000 race at Otaki on 4 November, followed by a $30,000 race at Te Rapa on 6 November.

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