What a Difference a Year Makes: Alex Matz
Alex Matz & Cashew CR. Photo by KIND Media
A year ago, Alex Matz (USA) recorded his first grand prix victory, riding Cashew CR to the top of the $100,000 Richard M. Feldman Grand Prix at Lake Placid (USA). He’d quickly add to his tally, becoming just the sixth rider to sweep both grand prix events offered at the venue in the same year.
A year later, he is a newcomer no more.
Matz returns to Lake Placid in 2022 with a four-star win at the 2021 Hampton Classic (USA) and a double-clear Nations Cup performance at CSIO3* Lisbon (POR) under his belt.
“I gained a lot of confidence in myself after Cashew won the Grand Prix in Lake Placid last year,” Matz said. “I believe there’s a big difference between thinking you belong and really feeling like you belong, and after that win, I felt like I deserved to be there. More than that, it reaffirmed my belief that I have the best team and with hard work, results will follow.”
Outside of 2017—a year spent almost exclusively at the U25 level with just a single start above 1.45m—Matz enters the 2022 Lake Placid Horse shows with career-best averages. Across five mounts, Matz is averaging 5.48 faults and a finish position within the top 25 in international competition.
At Lake Placid, grand prix competition is held at a national standard level, meaning the jumps range from 1.45m-1.50m. This is an area where Matz has the most experience—135 of his 193 international starts.
Looking toward this week’s Great American Insurance Grand Prix, Matz brings forward his most exciting young mount—at least, according to the numbers. Ikigai, the 9-year-old KWPN Stallion (Elvis ter Putte x Iroko) has averaged just 1 fault and a finish position of 19 with Matz in international competition. Developed by Pieter Clemens (BEL), this horse boasts great promise for the future.
“He has a great disposition and tremendous ability. I don’t think he knows how good he really is!” Matz exclaimed. The McNeil family, who own him, and I are really looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
Alex’s father, Michael Matz, is famously heralded as a legend of the sport, having been inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2006 (He won at least one major show jumping event in 20 consecutive years and boasts an Olympic silver medal). But over the course of the past two decades, Michael has made his name training Thoroughbred racehorses, including 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and 2012 Belmont Stakes Champion Union Rags. Michael maintains a small stable and continues his hands-on approach with his runners.
For fun, we’ve collected some racing data for comparison.
Alex Matz has jumped clear in 19.6% of his 46 international starts in 2022, and in jump-offs, he is clear 50% of the time. He has performed better on fiber surfaces this year across his horses, and the majority of his faults tend to come up front (54.39%). He rides equally well off the left and right leads (Both leads account for 43.86% of faults) but tends to ride verticals more strongly than oxers (Verticals fall 6.76% of the time, while oxers fall 7.88% of the time).
Michael Matz has made fewer starts this year, sending just 27 horses to the post so far in 2022. He’s hit the board 9 times, with win-place-show rate of 33% and a win percentage of 15% (4 wins). Similarly to his son, his runners have performed better on dirt and synthetic surfaces this year; he has won at a 15% clip on dirt and synthetic vs. 10% on turf. His best performer this year has been the gelding Beacon Hill, who earned a 96 Beyer when finishing second by a head in an April Allowance at Keeneland. Matz wins 50% of the time when starting horses for the first time off a layoff of 180 days or more.
Did you know? The Daily Racing Form, a leading source of handicapping analysis in the racing industry, allows users to filter statistics by the following characteristics: time frame, age, trainer changes, surface, Beyer Speed Figures, sex, equipment, class moves, purse, track, layoffs, distance, class, and more? Prixview is out to close the gap between available data in show jumping and other sports, from horse racing to mainstream sports like football, basketball, baseball, tennis, hockey and more.
Follow along and select Alex Matz in this week’s fantasy offerings at Prixview.com/fantasy.