There will be no premiership honours for the Pitman stable this season but Matthew Pitman can rightfully refer to the stable's achievements this term as a break-through.
The father-and-son partnership of Michael and Matthew Pitman has saddled 64 winners this season, a far cry from the stable's best tally of 105 in the premiership-winning 2005-06 season, but it's been more a case of quality over quantity.
The stable has equalled its best stakes-race haul with seven black-type winners but most significantly has for the first time produced two winners at racing's elite level through Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) princess Savvy Coup and Gr.1 Telegraph (1200m) winning sprinter Enzo's Lad.
On the money side, the Pitmans have bankrolled stakes earnings of more than $1.87 million, a big improvement on the stable's previous best season tally of $1,521,754 from the 2007-08 season.
"The stable has won three premierships so we've had good success in the past but to do what we've done this season has probably made it our best yet. It's certainly been a break-through season for us," Matthew Pitman said.
"To get two Group One winners and seven stakes winners has been pretty rewarding. It's something we talked about doing a couple of years ago. We went out and bought horses with that in mind, rather than just taking what was being given to us.
"Every season we set a goal to win $1 million in stakes so anything above that is a bonus but to win the stakes we have this season is great. Now we just want to go out and build on what we've achieved this season and continue to strive to get even better results."
While stable stars such as Savvy Coup, Enzo's Lad, Son Of Maher and Mr Typhon are in the process of coming back into the stable to prepare for spring racing, the Pitmans' winter team continues to tick over nicely.
They have five entries at Timaru on Friday with So Brazen and Gloss slated for the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1600m).
So Brazen has placed in her last two starts, at Riccarton and Timaru, and has placed in her two appearances at Phar Lap Raceway.
"She's come into her own in the last two or three starts," Pitman said.
"She ran a close second at Timaru on Amanda Morgan's last day as an apprentice (in April) and was second there so she likes the track. She's always gone well there.
"We're very happy with the work she's been doing and we've got Lisa Allpress on board. This race is a good fit for her. We target these bonus races and both of ours are eligible."
However, Gloss remains an uncertain starter with an unsuitable inside draw and the suspension of Chris Johnson, who had been an early booking to ride.
The Pitmans' other acceptors for the meeting are Itstolate, Mira and Lucky Edie. - NZ Racing Desk