Matthew White is pinching himself as he prepares to drive in New Zealand’s richest race at Cambridge Raceway next month.
The local horseman will partner Nicholas Cage in the $1million Race by Grins (2200m) on April 14 for Cambridge trainers Andrew and Lyn Neal.
The four-year-old gelding sealed his place in the rich feature after a convincing 2-1/4 length victory in the Gr.3 Founders Cup (1700m) against a quality line-up at Alexandra Park last Friday.
Nicholas Cage fills the slot of Barrett Homes, which is operated by his part-owner Grant Eynon.
White was pleased with last Friday’s win and is excited about the big opportunity he has been afforded by the Neals.
“We had the draw advantage but the way he ran away from them in the end was quite pleasing,” White said.
“This time last year he had only had a couple of starts so he has come a long way in a short time.
“Andrew and Lyn do a great job with him and I am sure he will be presented 100 percent and ready to go.
“There is a bit more hype around the race this year too, so I am really looking forward to it.”
While White will team up with the Neals next month, the two Waikato stables were foes at Manawatu Raceway on Tuesday, with the White-trained The Big Dance beating the Neal-trained No Mercy in the Cartown Mobile Pace (2000m) by 1-3/4 lengths.
“I sent her down with Lyn Neal and she has done a good job looking after her,” White said.
“It was a really good run, she won it quite impressively. She did a bit of work and was able to run to the line really nice.
“It looked a good race for her on paper and she had a good draw.
“I thought she would have won one by now and she has gone some good races in some strong maiden fields. She has never been too far away.”