Class Through Four Seasons

Date: 1 Mar 2021

Class Through Four Seasons


New Zealand Bloodstock reports:


Through the four seasons since Te Akau Racing's David Ellis bought her at Karaka for $210,000, Avantage (Fastnet Rock) has repeatedly proven herself as one of the toughest, most versatile and classiest mares in recent New Zealand racing history.

The prolific winner did it again with another relentless performance in Saturday's $200,000 Group One El Cheapo Cars WFA Classic (1600m) at Otaki. It was her eighth Group One victory, her fourth in a row, and it carried her past $2 million in stakes - almost 10 times her purchase price.

In her three previous appearances, Avantage had won the Group One Railway Stakes (1200m), Telegraph (1200m) and BCD Group Sprint (1400m) - a sprinting treble that had never previously been achieved in the same season.

Avantage has also won Group One races all the way up to 2000 metres, and on Saturday she stepped back up to the metric mile at Otaki to defend the WFA Classic crown she first won 12 months earlier.

The exceptional five-year-old was the $1.20 favourite in a small field, but there were some nervous moments early in the race as she was caught in an awkward position well away from the rail.

But Opie Bosson soon took up a position outside the front-running Deerfield (NZ) (Falkirk), and Avantage settled back into the smooth rhythm and high cruising speed that has earned her so much success in her 25-start career.

Bosson went for gold around the home turn and Avantage kicked clear. She faced a strong challenge in the straight from Callsign Mav (NZ) (Atlante), but responded and found that little bit more to hold him at bay by three-quarters of a length.

“The plan was to go forward a little bit and ride her positively early, but we found ourselves in a little bit of trouble,” Bosson said. “But once she settled off Deerfield, she relaxed beautifully and did everything right.

“I could see Callsign Mav coming at her in the straight, and I just gave my girl a few reminders and she stuck her head out. She showed how good a racehorse she is - she just loves winning.”

Trained by Jamie Richards for the Te Akau Avantage Syndicate, Avantage has now won a total of 15 races across her two, three, four and five-year-old seasons. Her career earnings now stand at $2,021,351.

“I'm really proud of her,” Richards said. “She's been going great this season. She won our two Group One sprints over 1200 metres, then another one over 1400 metres, then stepped up to the mile today. She's been in great form and is ultra-consistent.

“She's been doing it right since she was a two-year-old. She's got a wonderful constitution. She's another lovely mare that David (Ellis) bought at Karaka, and we're thrilled that we've got such a great group of owners involved in her.

“Callsign Mav was a bit of a nuisance early in the race, kicking up inside of us and making us work to get across, but that's what a good, competitive rider should do. Once she got a half-length back off the leader and settled, it looked to be plain sailing from there.

“To Callsign Mav's credit, he really fought hard. Avantage had to call on all of her champion qualities, but she was able to do the job again under a lovely ride from Opie.

“She'll likely carry on to the Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (Group One, 2000m) at Ellerslie in a couple of weeks, and then Sydney and/or Brisbane could be up for discussion after that. But we're mindful that she's done a lot of racing this year, and she's done some travelling, so we'll need to put the horse first. We'll wait and see how she comes through this, then make a plan from there.

“The great thing about Avantage is she has a wonderful constitution, a lovely action, and she's very sound and straightforward.”

Gallant runner-up Callsign Mav is also a Karaka graduate, bought for a mere $3,000 from the 2017 National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale. The winner of the Group One Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at the beginning of this season, the four-year-old has had 16 starts for five wins, seven placings and more than $304,000 in stakes.

Avantage is part of an incredible trio of mares bought by Ellis at Karaka over the last five years and trained by Richards.

  • Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) was a $57,500 purchase from the 2016 Premier Sale. She has won 18 of her 36 starts, including 13 Group One victories, and earned more than $4 million in stakes.

  • Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel), who cost $380,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2018, has triumphed three Group One races in Sydney and Melbourne over the last 12 months and has won more than $3 million.

Purchased for a combined total of $647,500 at Karaka, those three mares have together won 24 Group One races and amassed a combined total of more than $9 million in stakes.

Notably, Melody Belle, Avantage and Probabeel all won the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie, and Probabeel also triumphed in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m)


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