Wotton "Ecstatic" With 107 Start Breakthrough

MATHEW Wotton stood directly by the winning post at the brand new Richmond track on Sunday night watching the first race, a 320m Maiden.

David Brasch

16 May 2022

MATHEW Wotton stood directly by the winning post at Richmond on Sunday night watching the first race, a 320m maiden.

As the two leaders flew across the line he was not certain if his bitch Trial By Combat had won narrowly or not. The race-caller went for My Girl Fernando on the outside.

The caller could have been excused for going the way of My Girl Fernando.

Trial By Combat, you see, was having her 107th race start.

But the daughter of Aphorism-Santa Anita had prevailed by a head and Mat and his wife Fay had finally broken the duck with their bitch.

“Unbelieveable,” is how Mat described the win.

“Fay and I have been thinking for a while that her winning would finally happen one day.”

But in the meantime, Trial By Combat has developed a “cult following” according to Mat.

“She led and got run down at Dapto on Thursday night,” said Mat. “But, during the night, people were coming up asking if they could get a photo with her.

“Maybe we should be disappointed now she has won because the hype of waiting for her to win a race has gone out of it.”

Trial By Combat is part of a litter of 11 bred jointly by Shaun Evans and Mat.

“Shaun wanted to breed a litter,” said Mat. “He had the sire and dam and when the litter was 11 Shaun took three and we got the other seven.”

They are Cyprus (78 starts for 2 wins), Ella Lopez (38 starts for 0 wins), Legacies (72 starts, 2 wins), Mayhem Followed (97 starts, 2 wins), Parallel Reality (68 starts, 3 wins) and Twisted League (108 starts for 10 wins).

“People would say why keep onto them if they haven’t got much ability, but we brought them into this world and it is our duty to look after them,” said Mat.

He and Fay’s son Bailey named Trial By Combat after the TV series.

“Her kennel name is Sabrina,” said Mat. “She’s a funny little thing. She raced on Sunday night about 25.5 kilos and when she is that weight she seems to be stronger.

“She looks best about 24.5 kilos, but doesn’t go to the line as good.”

Trial By Combat and her littermates are generally sound as a bell.

“When Covid hit, clubs were looking for dogs to race and we used to put her in to help out,” said Mat. “She’d pick up a place here and there and we always thought she’d win one day.

“But she does funny things like miss the start one night but finish on and be narrowly beaten. But, at her next start, she ping out, lead and get run down.”

Mat is in a quandary about what to do with Trial By Combat next.

“She’s four and eligible for Masters races,” he said. “I’m wondering if she is the first dog ever to go straight from a maiden to a Masters.

“I’m not so sure about taking on those dogs. She could be coming up against dogs that have won eight or 10 races.”

But for now, Trial By Combat is a winner and Mat reckons she just loves the “new” track at Richmond.

“She’s unbeaten on the new track,” he said.