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Mathews asking questions of Sampson

21 April 2017, 11:41 a.m.

Howie Mathews is in Christchurch waiting on an answer or two from his capable stayer Sampson.

The Otaki trainer has settled on Saturday’s Gr.3 Coca-Cola Canterbury Gold Cup at Riccarton as the race to firm up future plans for his multiple stakes winner.

Sampson Photo: Race Images Palmerston North

“He’s had two trips away to Auckland this year and both times he didn’t go that flash,” Mathews said.

“I don’t really know whether it was the travelling or the right-handed way of going that tripped him up so the idea was to come down here and go back racing left-handed.

“This way we’ll find out if it’s the travel or not and then we can reassess things for the spring.”

Sampson’s form closer to home this preparation has been strong with success in the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes and a last-start win in the Gr.2 Awapuni Gold Cup.

“Apart from Ellerslie, he hasn’t done too much wrong at all,” Mathews said.

Sampson’s wins have both come in the hands of northern jockey Reese Jones, who will again handle the seven-year-old on Saturday.

“We’ve been great mates for a long time and he seems to understand the horse,” Mathews said.

“I’ve had a few jockeys on him and I thought I would get someone who isn’t tied up with a big stable and Reese rode a lot for me as an apprentice.

“He was with Jim Gibbs when I started training up at Matamata after I was apprenticed to Dave O’Sullivan so Reese and I go back a long way.” – NZ Racing Desk.