THERE was stunned silence at Ascot on Saturday when the Alan-Mathews trained Pounamu beat his more fancied rivals in the Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
For Mathews the winner of six Perth Cups it was his first Kingston Town win and despite his quip after the race that Pounamu could now get weighted out of the Perth Cup that is where the grey gelding is still headed.
Mathews said they were happy with how Pounamu went in the Railway Stakes, which was a handicap race, but tipsters who often had a pre-conceived idea of how a race was going to go may have thought it a step too far that Pounamu could carry the extra 6kg and still be competitive.
On Sunday the Muchea trainer said Pounamu, who is trained out of a grass paddock, had eaten all his food the night before and was looking fine when Mathews had just checked him and given him some hay.
The next immediate goal for Authorised and Tangiwai gelding is a 2100m weight-for-age race in a fortnight.
Mathews said Pounamu wouldn’t have to win that race for the goal to remain a start in the Perth Cup.
But if he was to run a bad race and show he was tired they would not continue with the plan.
He said if Pounamu was weighted out of the Perth Cup he would probably go back to the paddock but he had not discussed with the owners if he would then return to the eastern states.
In the race on Saturday where the favourite Black Heart Bart was badly checked between the 150m and 200m, Pounamu and jockey Patrick Carbery got well back after starting from barrier eight.
But from the home turn Pounamu, who Carbery said does not like to be hustled and bustled, took off for home finishing half a length in front of his nearest rival Material Man.
Jockey William Pike, who was on board Perfect Jewel, was given a 28-day suspension and $2000 fine for careless riding.