08/09/2012 11:42AM

Hastings: Matchabull gets a class break in Saturday feature


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Matchabull will appreciate the substantially easier company when he drops into a $7,500 claiming race for 3-year-olds and up that will serve as Saturday’s feature at Hastings. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint drew seven horses and goes as race 7 on the eight-race card, which begins at 1:50 p.m. Pacific.

Due to the start of the Pacific National Exhibition Aug. 18, this will be the last Saturday of live racing until Sept. 8. Live racing during the two weeks of the annual fair will be held on Wednesdays and Fridays with a 3:20 p.m. post time. The usual 1:50 post time will be in place for the Labour Day holiday Monday, Sept. 3.

Matchabull, trained by Craig MacPherson, ran into a very tough group of $15,000 claimers in his latest race and he ran well, finishing fourth. The winner, Pop Artist, has finished first in seven of his nine starts the past two years here while mostly running in $25,000 claiming races. Two starts back, Matchabull forced a moderate pace while finishing second in a $12,500 claiming race June 24. He was coming off a front-running win at the same level June 8.

There is an abundance of speed in the field and Matchabull’s versatility could give him an edge. In his final start of 2011 he came from a stalking position to win a $12,500 claiming race going 6 1/2 furlongs.

Fernando Perez retains the mount.

The shape of the race could favor One’s Own Accord. Trained by Monica Russell, One’s Own Accord made a strong late move that came up a nose short in a $7,500 claiming race going 6 1/2 furlongs July 29. He was coming off a win going 1 1/16 miles for $5,000 July 6. He has been a gem of consistency at the current meet, compiling a 2-2-2 record from 7 starts.

Afleet Mac set wicked fractions and held on to win a $5,000 claiming race July 8. Trained by Robert Anderson, Afleet Mac was making just his second start this year and he also ran a solid race in his initial outing, finishing second in a $7,500 claiming race June 22.

A Lasting Peace is also fast and he will appreciate the move back to a sprint after fading when he tried to stretch out to 1 1/8 miles July 21. He was on his toes when he worked a bullet five furlongs in 58.80 seconds Aug. 6.