Richards Shoots for 20th Group 1
12 Mar 2019
The Informant reports:
Savy Yong Blonk and Shezathinka will give Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards two strong chances at a Group One milestone at Trentham this Saturday.
Still in only his fourth full season of training and his first in sole charge of the stable, Richards has won 19 Group One races – six with Melody Belle, three with Gingernuts, two with Xtravagant and one each with Risque, Heroic Valour, Hall Of Fame, Embellish, Age Of Fire, Sword Of Osman, Avantage and Yourdeel.
He played a starring role at Ellerslie last Saturday as Yourdeel and Melody Belle delivered a big-race double in the Sistema Stakes and Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes.
Richards will saddle Savy Yong Blonk and Shezathinka as $10 and $12 chances respectively in Saturday’s $400,000 Gr. 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks.
Savy Yong Blonk won two races earlier in her campaign and produced a big finish for a last-start third in the Gr. 3 Sunline Vase at Ellerslie, while the maiden filly Shezathinka burst into Oaks contention with a last-start second in the Gr. 2 Lowland Stakes at Hastings. She finished in between the two Oaks favourites, Queen Of Diamonds ($3.20) and Imelda Mary ($4).
“We were very pleased with Savy Yong Blonk at Ellerslie,” Richards said. “I thought she could have switched off when she was knocked around a bit at the top of the straight, but instead she kept up a strong gallop and found the line very well. It was a very good effort.
“She’s come through it well and is making good progress towards Saturday. She’s been in work a while and is very fit, so hasn’t needed to do a lot. Michael McNab will ride her in a final gallop tomorrow morning, and he’ll be aboard on Saturday.
“Shezathinka is a high-class filly. She’s still a maiden, but she really proved herself against some of the best fillies around with her Lowland placing. I’m disappointed that she hasn’t won a race before now, but she’s been a victim of circumstances and has had a bit of bad luck.
“She’s going into the race in great order and will be ridden by Chris Johnson.”
Richards will also saddle impressive last-start winner Sasso Corbaro in the Listed Gavelhouse.com Lightning Handicap, while Southland Guineas winner Weaponry is a possible runner in the Gr. 2 Norwood Family Wellington Guineas.
On the other side of the Tasman, the brilliant Karaka Million winner Probabeel will line up in the Gr. 3 Magic Night Stakes at Rosehill. She will travel to Sydney later today.
“She’s about to be loaded on to a truck,” Richards said. “I’m looking at her right now and she’s in really good order.”