Feisty mare Avantage showed all her fighting qualities when she overcame a wide barrier and a plucky southern rival to take out the Gr.1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham.
Prepared by Jamie Richards for owners the Te Akau Avantage syndicate, the Fastnet Rock four-year-old gained a measure of revenge for the Matamata stable after outstanding racemare Melody Belle was defeated in the 2019 edition of the event.
Richards and the Te Akau team put their faith in the hands of regular rider Opie Bosson and New Zealand’s premier hoop didn’t disappoint as he once again displayed the judgement and skill that has now taken him to a place in the top fifty most Group One winning jockeys in the world.
Advised by Richards before the race to be anywhere but last in the early running, Bosson bounced Avantage away nicely from the widest barrier in the thirteen-horse field to sit just beyond midfield with cover as Sheezallmine set a solid pace up front.
Approaching the home bend South Island visitor Enzo’s Lad, who was seeking a third straight success in the race after taking out the 2018 and 2019 contests, loomed up wide to take the lead and establish a break on his nearest rivals.
Avantage had tracked him into contention and began to chase him down as the pair drew clear of the pack. Bosson threw everything at the mare who responded gamely to put her head in front at the 100m as she defeated Enzo’s Lad by half a length with Spring Heat dashing home late to grab third.
“Jamie and the whole team had her spot on for today,” Bosson said.
“I galloped her Tuesday morning and the work was first class.
“I had no plan really as Jamie had said just don’t be last. I ended up getting quite a nice run with cover although she wobbled around a bit over the junction.
“It didn’t matter though as she always had them covered, she’s a little sweetheart.”
Richards was delighted with the performance and the way the mare had returned to form after a disappointing Sydney campaign in the spring following a lacklustre run to open her campaign at Ruakaka.
“She’s a proper good horse,” Richards said.
“We made a mistake taking her to Sydney in the spring when things didn’t go our way at Ruakaka.
“I’m glad that we can repay the owner’s faith and get a good Group One with her.
“She’s all class and is just a real racehorse.
“She’s so strong, built like a colt and is incredibly hard to handle.
“It’s a great thrill for everybody involved as Dave (Ellis) tries to buy the best horses that we can for our owners. To get these results a week out from the sale is really important for the whole business.”
Avantage was purchased by Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis for $210,000 from The Oaks Stud’s Premier session draft at the 2017 National Yearling Sale and has now won twice at Group One level after taking out the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) during her two-year-old season after earlier scoring in the $1million Karaka Million 2YO (1200m).
Richards also paid tribute to Bosson for an inch-perfect ride.
“It was a ten out of ten ride and he is just a freak when he is on the ball,” he said.
“He is a real confidence man and when he is in the zone, he is very hard to get past.
“We had a bit of bad luck and didn’t front up with Melody Belle so to come back here and do the job was very important.
“We’ll go home now and have a think about what’s next but we would like to go back to Australia and try and show her off over there as we have a bit of unfinished business from the spring.”
Avantage has now won eight of her 14 career starts and over $1.149million in prizemoney. – NZ Racing Desk.