Richards Aims for Bosses' Race

Date: 11 Feb 2022

Richards Aims for Bosses' Race

 

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Richards shoots for repeat result in Fillies' Classic

 

“The Fillies' Classic is a special race for the bosses these days, and it's always a pleasure to have nice fillies running in the race.”

Lining up a pair of last-start Group Two winners, trainer Jamie Richards has a strong chance of back-to-back victories in a fillies' feature that holds special significance to the Te Akau Racing team.

Originally known as the Sir Tristram Fillies' Classic, Saturday's Group Two feature at Te Rapa is now sponsored in perpetuity by Te Akau's David Ellis and Karyn Fenton-Ellis - both former chairs and Life Members of the Waikato Racing Club.

Richards saddled Amarelinha to win the Fillies' Classic in the Te Akau tangerine 12 months ago, and this year he has a two-pronged attack with Belle En Rouge and Self Obsession.

Te Akau homebred Belle En Rouge placed in the Gr. 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas in November before impressive back-to-back wins in the Gr. 3 Eulogy Stakes and Gr. 2 Eight Carat Classic, while Self Obsession won the Gr. 2 Royal Stakes on New Year's Day for her Hong Kong owner-breeder David Price.

“The Fillies' Classic is a special race for the bosses these days, and it's always a pleasure to have nice fillies running in the race,” Richards told RaceForm. “I think everything has gone according to plan with both Belle En Rouge and Self Obsession.

“They're going into the race off a bit of a freshen-up, so they might be a touch vulnerable in terms of their race fitness, but we needed to give them a break at some stage. Doing it this way allows us to run them on Saturday, improve into either the Lowland Stakes or Sunline Vase, and then improve again into the Oaks.

“I think we've got the work into them for both to be very competitive. I was pleased with how Belle En Rouge went in an exhibition gallop at Te Rapa the other day. This is her first time beyond 1600 metres, but she relaxes well and is a laid-back filly.”

Richards will also saddle stylish debut winner Maven Belle in the Gr. 3 Platinum Homes 2YO Classic, which was postponed by a week due to the abandonment at New Plymouth last Saturday.

 

 

“The extra week hasn't bothered her too much, she's in good shape,” Richards said on Tuesday. “She worked nicely this morning and is a filly with a bit of upside. I'm looking forward to seeing what she can do.

“The original three-week spacing into the Matamata Breeders' Stakes was ideal, but that's now been reduced to a two-week turnaround. We'll get through this race and then work out a plan.

“If she won impressively, I wouldn't be worried about going a month into the Gr. 1 Sistema Stakes without another run.”

Across the Tasman, Richards will kick off the autumn campaigns of reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year Probabeel and Group One-winning stablemate Kahma Lass in Saturday's Gr. 3 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes at Caulfield.

“Kicking off in a Group Three, rather than something like the Orr Stakes, is how we like to play it,” said Richards, confirming that Probabeel will be ridden on Saturday by Brett Prebble and Kahma Lass by Damian Lane. “We just sneak in and get our bearings without an overly taxing first-up run.

 

“They've both trialled well, jumped out well and galloped very nicely, and I think they're both ready to run well.

“They'll improve into their second-up runs, which for Probabeel will be the Futurity Stakes (Group One, February 26). Kahma Lass will play around in that Group Two, Group Three 1400-metre bracket for fillies and mares.”

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