Prise De Fer Prepped & Primed

Date: 11 Dec 2021

Prise De Fer Prepped & Primed

 

NZ Racing News reports:

 

Prise De Fer (NZ) (Savabeel) will continue his hunt for an elusive Group One win in Saturday's Rydges Wellington Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa.

The Jamie Richards-trained Savabeel six-year-old gelding has won seven of his 26 starts but in eight starts at Group One level, three placings have been the best he has done.

However, off placings in the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings at his most recent starts, Richards believes Prise De Fer can seize his opportunity at the elite level this weekend.

“He's shown throughout his career that he's probably a fraction off the top ones but hopefully he's not that far away and with Opie (Bosson, jockey) being back in, that's a big help,” Richards said.

Prise De Fer travelled south in preparation for the Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham before that meeting was abandoned through unsafe track conditions and the two feature races transferred to Te Rapa.

“He seems to have come through it unscathed. He's an older horse and he's done a bit of travelling,” Richards said.

“He ate well Saturday night and again Sunday and he did his normal Tuesday work on the grass. Opie rode him over 1200m and he seemed to be full of life, nice and fresh, so I don't think he's taken any harm from it.

“Opie was happy with him. He's ready to run really well. His form at Hastings was top-notch. We've been happy with him all the way through so I can see no reason why he's not a top-three chance.”

TAB bookmakers have Prise De Fer as a $5 third favourite for the weight-for-age feature, shortening his price from an opening line of $6.50 in a market headed by Two Illicit (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) at $3.50 and Aegon (NZ) (Sacred Falls) at $4.20.

“It looks a stronger race than last weekend with the extras going in,” Richards said.

“He ran at this meeting last year and ran a really good second behind Coventina Bay over 1400m, so his form at Te Rapa is good.”

Safely through Saturday's race, Ricards will consider Prise De Fer for the Gr.1 Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

Stablemate Brando (NZ) (Savabeel) was an acceptor for the Captain Cook Stakes last weekend but with the extra week between races and the change of venue, Richards has opted for the Gr.3 J Swap Sprint (1400m) as his assignment at Te Rapa on Saturday.

“We're just going to drop him back to the 1400 (metres). It's going to be four weeks between runs with a trip away,” Richards said.

“He was just down on ratings for the Captain Cook last weekend and we feel he's better placed over 1400m back to handicap conditions. And this gives us the option of dropping back to the 1200m of the Railway or up to 1600m for a race like the Rich Hill Mile or the Thorndon Mile. He's a good-doing colt and he's taken no harm from the trip away either.”

Another initially earmarked for the Captain Cook Stakes was Atlante mare Mai Tai (NZ) but Richards made the decision last week to change tack and aim for this weekend's Gr.2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m).

“We dodged a bullet with her because we had been looking at the Captain Cook Stakes last week. She didn't have to go away,” Richards said.

“We just thought that having not had a lot of practice at weight-for-age, this Group Two fillies and mares race would suit her better. She had an exhibition gallop here at Matamata on Saturday and Opie's going to ride her. The mile suits her against her own sex, so there's no reason why she can't be competitive.”

Richards has accepted with Tavistock filly Taviarma (NZ) for the Gr.2 Hiddenbed Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) but said she was not a certain starter with race options at Pukekohe next Wednesday and Awapuni on Saturday week also on the table for her.

Other runners engaged for the stable at Te Rapa are On The Bubbles (Brazen Beau), Sophisticardo (NZ) (Burgundy), Phantom Witness (Star Witness), Miss Aotearoa (NZ) (Per Incanto), Lightning Field (NZ) (Deep Field), The Mighty Spar (NZ) (Savabeel) and Devoted (NZ) (Contributer).

Richards was optimistic of a bold run from Group One winner On The Bubbles but described his opening price of $1.70 as “ridiculous”.

“He should run well but has had throat surgery so you just don't know what to expect.,” he said.

“He's going well enough but he should improve with this first run back. By no means are we expecting him to win.”

Richards identified the Listed Shaw's Wire Ropes Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day and the $1 million Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on January 22 as targets should On The Bubbles perform well on Saturday.

At Awapuni on Saturday, Richards will produce Belle En Rouge (NZ) in the Gr.3 Lawnmaster Eulogy Stakes (1600m) at Awapuni, the Burgundy filly progressing to his satisfaction after placings in the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Matamata and Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton at her last two starts.

“She had a quiet week in the paddock after the 1000 Guineas and she'll float up late this week,” he said.

“She had an exhibition gallop at Riccarton on Friday and seemed to work well so there's no reason why she can't be competitive.”

Meanwhile, Richards is preparing to lose the services of Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) winner Noverre (NZ) (Savabeel), who has sustained a potentially career-ending injury.

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