Avantage Awesome Again - Group 1 Number 6

Date: 17 Jan 2021

Avantage Awesome Again - Group 1 Number 6


Winning her sixth Group One, Avantage  (4 m Fastnet Rock - Asavant, by Zabeel) defended her title in the $250,000 JR & N Berkett Telegraph (Gr. 1, 1200m) on Saturday at Trentham.


A high-class and quality athlete, Avantage got the job done a year earlier under a courageous and brilliant ride by Opie Bosson. But on this occasion, from a handy spot and with Danielle Johnson aboard, she simply dominated her rivals in the straight.

“She's just a pleasure to ride and words can't describe how exciting it is to get on her and win Group Ones,” said Johnson, who registered four wins on the programme. “I'm lucky to be associated with her and such a pleasure to be a part of this.

“Everything seemed to work out well, three wide with a bit of cover. Frodo (Tavi Mac) was travelling inside me, but I knew what I had underneath me.

“She's won Group Ones at 1200m, 1400m, a mile, and 2000m, doesn't know what distance she wants. She just wins over them all.

It has been a heck of a training performance by Jamie Richards with the former Champion Two-Year-Old, after winning five of her six starts including the $1m Karaka Million (Listed, 1200m) and Sires' Produce Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m), going on at three, four, and now five.

David Ellis purchased Avantage for $210,000 at the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Sale, and her 13 wins from 23 starts have amassed $1.8 million in prize money.

“She's done us all proud and it's pretty special,” Richards said. “It was a 10 out of 10 ride by Danielle, it was great. She's putting together a great record and full credit to Dave (Ellis) for buying her as a yearling.

“He's bought all these horses, Probabeel, Melody Belle, and we'll back his judgement with the horses he's bought in the last week on the Gold Coast, as well. We love Fastnet Rock's and she's done a fantastic job for us.

“She'll have a quite week and prepare for the BCD Group Sprint (Gr. 1, 1400m) at Te Rapa, in a month, and we'll go from there.

“She's certainly done it all in New Zealand, and I'd like to give her a chance to win a Group One in Australia. She deserves the opportunity.

“The guys at the Middle Barn have done a wonderful job with her and I can't thank everybody enough. She can be a bit difficult to train, puts a show on race day, particularly out the back where it's a bit tight. She can be a handful but Trevor Stewart has got her well under control and we're lucky to have a big strong bloke leading her around.”

Justifying her favouritism ($1.60), Avantage won in scintillating time: 1:06.9, in the top half dozen fastest times for the race in the past 30 years, a phenomenal performance, and, additionally, the stable finished third with a terrific effort by Burgundy Belle (Burgundy).

Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM said: “What an absolute thrill to win back-to-back Telegraph's. We've won the race previously with King's Chapel and Darci Brahma, and for this mare to win it twice is just incredible.

“It's our 20thblack type win for the season, the sixth Group One, and I'm so proud to win another Group One for the owners. They're a fantastic bunch of people and most of them have shares in other horses with us as well.

“Avantage is trained out of the Middle Barn, run by Nicole Shailer and Sam Bergerson and they've got a great team. The success they've had is amazing. I was there last week with friends, and to see Avantage, Melody Belle, and Probabeel side by side is something to behold and an incredible feat for the stable.

“Jamie (Richards) had four runners today at Trentham, for two wins, a second, and third, which is an absolutely fantastic effort.

“I'm so thrilled for the owners, but also all the staff that get up at 3.30 every morning to look after these horses. It's all about them too.

“It was fantastic earlier in the day to give Danielle her 100thwin and it's the third Group One win she's had on Avantage.”

By champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill), the dam of Avantage, Asavant (Zabeel), won the Warstep Stakes (Listed, 2000m) as a three-year-old at Riccarton, gaining a Group One placing when finishing third in the Darci Brahma International Stakes (2000m), and from the family of Hong Kong star D B Pin (Darci Brahma), a Group One winner of $24m.

Avantage was strapped by Trevor Stewart.

Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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