PAUL Matchett, like most former Zimbabweans of his generation, doesn’t know the meaning of “giving up”. The 54-year-old Randjesfontein handler has recently enjoyed a resurgence in fortunes via horses like Brave Mary, Royal Honour and Kissable and his yard is back to a competitive 50 inmates.
Matchett has fought on through tough times, almost hitting bottom but bouncing back like good horsemen do. With Brave Mary exported to France after her Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship win, three-year-old Kissable took the momentum and she’s reeled off four wins this year, including a Pinnacle Plate and last Saturday’s Listed Umgeni Handicap over 1000m on the Polytrack at Greyville.
Matchett commented: “Kissable’s win last Saturday has even more merit because she had to travel to Durban twice. She’s not the easiest filly to train, but she does travel particularly well and she loves the Polytrack. She gets away with her good pace in the short run-in.”
Matchett, who bought both Brave Mary and Kissable in conjunction with Green Street Bloodstock, told: “Kissable comes from a family of talented runners and I trained most of them. Her dam Kiss For Kate won three and was Gr1-placed, she could run like hell but she was unsound.
“I trained her first foal Thrust, a speedy sort who won five races and also her second foal Spanish Kiss, who had ability too but her legs were bad.
“Kissable was a neat and athletic type, with straight legs, the best of the family so far, and we were prepared to pay R200,000 for her but she went for R120,000 at the National Sale and that was a bargain, she’s already won six times and earned R450,000.”
Matchett said that Kissable had excuses for her few below-par runs. “She won twice early, breaking the course record first time out over 800m at Turffontein. She ran okay in stronger company after that, but went off the boil. We gave her a break and she won again soon after a rest, with one poor run in March but she was harbouring a virus and you can draw a line through that.
“Kissable is a filly with two speeds – a very fast top gear and a slow canter, there is nothing in between and that’s why jockeys battle a bit to ride her, she gets away with them. But Marco van Rensburg gets on well with her. I think she’s good enough to go for a Graded feature now, we have black type under the belt. Ultimately, we’d like to get her into the Computaform Sprint next year. You never know, with her pace nothing is impossible.”
Kissable is owned by Fanie Bronkhorst, of whom Matchett says: “Fanie is young still, in his 30s, but he is steeped in racing. He worked as an assistant for the late Peter Miller and has started racing the endurance circuit with Arabians. He owns a very successful construction business and he’s an owner who can be valuable to SA racing for many years, we are grateful for his support.”