Avantage – Group 1 Glory No.8
27 Feb 2021
Make that eight. Eight Group One wins for the Champion Avantage (5 m Fastnet Rock – Asavant, by Zabeel) after she defended her title in the $200,000 El Cheapo Cars Weight-For-Age Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m) on Saturday at Otaki.
She had to work, but was still too good. Backed off the charts ($1.20 & $1.10), it’s fair to say it would have been far more of a shock had Avantage been beaten.
Jostling for positions saw Avantage posted three wide on the pace before rider Opie Bosson seized the initiative to slide forward outside the leader. On the bridle 600m out, she got away at the 300 metres to establish a winning break and never looked like being overhauled.
On Dead4 footing, Avantage ran the 1600 metres in a sizzling 1:34.0 and became the 81stGroup One winner for Bosson.
“It was brilliant win to overcome some pretty competitive riding in the early part of the race,” said trainer Jamie Richards. “She had to use a bit of petrol to get outside Deerfield but to her credit she found a good kick on the corner and when Callsign Mav came at her, she kept finding more. It was a really good race and the second horse is obviously racing very well.
“I’m proud to have won eight Group Ones with her and it was another polished ride from Opie (Bosson). She really is a Champion mare and we couldn’t ask for much more.”
After winning the two best sprints in the country over 1200 metres and most recently the BCD Group Sprint (Gr. 1, 1400m) a fortnight earlier at Te Rapa, Avantage won her fourth Group One in succession.
The win provided a hat-trick in the race for Te Akau, with dual Horse of the Year Melody Belle (Commands) having won in 2019. Te Akau’s previous winners include Darci Brahma and King’s Chapel who both went on to stud careers.
For the record-breaking Richards, who became the fastest by three months to prepare 100 winners in a season, two stakes’ victories on the day, including Sword of State (Snitzel) in the Waikato Slipper (Gr. 3, 1200m) at Matamata, also saw the young trainer establish a new domestic stakes’ record of 26 in a season – a tally that seems sure to rise by close of play at the end of July.
Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM purchased Avantage for $210,000 at the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Sale, and her 15 wins from 25 starts have amassed $2 million prize money for Te Akau Avantage Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).
Of note, Avantage became the 265thblack type winner for Te Akau, 204 of those purchased by Ellis, while he has also bought 62 of the 68 Group One winners.
“That was Jamie’s 41stGroup One training success and for someone his age it’s just incredible,” Ellis said.
“She’s an amazing mare and I’m thrilled for her owners who are enjoying a hell of a summer. We sent her South as a two-year-old to our base at Riccarton, where she won on debut and during the campaign she won the Karaka Million and Sires’ Produce Stakes to be named Champion Two-Year-Old, and she has never stopped performing at the elite level ever since.
“She really defines the type of horse I’m trying to buy. A horse that doesn’t take an indefinite period to get the owners to the races, but they must have the scope to train on a hopefully keep improving as three, four, and five year olds.
“Incredibly, she was the last yearling to sell in her year which is significant because we’re in the process of selling the last three yearlings from Karaka this year. It’s quite often been the case and shows there’s no drawback being involved in the last horses to sell.
“Jamie has done a great job in training her and the team at the Middle Barn, Nicole Shailer, Sam Bergerson, and Reece Trumper, always have her at best on race day. They are having an outstanding season with the horses trained out of their barn.
“I’m proud of the whole team because, in racing, it’s seven days a week and you only achieve these results when people give their heart and soul to the horses and the stable and our owners. Right across the whole team, we’ve all been working really hard and it’s been another great day for everyone involved.”
Avantage was strapped Trevor Stewart.
Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz