Ballymore Stables racing manager Nick Fairweather and co-trainer Chad Ormsby are stars with their business community.
They are absolute favourites of two Matamata businesswomen and their stocks will rise further if Fortaleza (Darci Brahma x Bunyah) finds her way to the Karaka Million.
The highly regarded two-year-old filly, sold from Trelawney Stud's 2015 NZB Select draft, makes a last ditch effort to qualify for the $1 million race on January 24 when she runs at Tauranga on Saturday.
Ever enterprising, Fairweather and Ormsby made a conscious decision to engage with the Matamata business community after Fairweather took over his role at Ballymore for trainers Ormsby and Mike Moroney.
He joined the Matamata Business Association and convinced Ormsby to do the same and they began attending Business After Five gatherings and engaging with the business community in the racing mad town.
The coup de grace was when they organised a stable visit for association members and paraded a couple of horses.
"You know, we were quite shocked," Ormsby said. "About 98 per cent of those that came along to the barbecue and drinks at the stable parade knew nothing about horses at all.
"Even though Matamata is a racing town a lot of people knew nothing about the industry."
The uninitiated loved it and the occasion sparked interest from two women, in particular - Sue Whiting, manager of the Matamata Public Relations Association, and Lynette Stanley, owner of Mitre 10 Matamata.
They went along to the track one cold and dark morning to inspect a Darci Brahma filly Fairweather had called them about and they took the plunge into racehorse ownership.
Fortaleza lines-up in the Gartshore 2YO for her second start but Whiting and Stanley and other members of the 15-strong syndicate have already had heaps of fun.
The Darci Brahma filly won two trials and on debut earned black-type when third behind Tennessee in the Wellesley Stakes at Trentham.
"She was a bit unlucky that day," said Ormsby. "She is a filly who showed us plenty from the start. She is professional, well balanced and very speedy.
"We expect a big run on Saturday but she will have to win and win impressively for us to press on to the Karaka Million and obviously do everything right after the race with such a short back-up to the big race.
"But she is a lovely filly and we have a good back-up plan with the Matamata Breeders' Stakes right here on our doorstep."
Nova Swiss and Barcelo oppose Fortaleza on Saturday as they also attempt to force their way into the Karaka Million.