Former Derby Hero Returns to the Big Time in Avondale Cup

18 February 2024

Asterix (NZ). Photo: Race Images

Ellerslie holds fond memories for the connections of 2022 New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner Asterix (NZ) (Tavistock), and the high-quality Ready to Run Sale graduate went back to the Auckland track on Saturday to claim another feature prize.

Asterix kept his perfect Ellerslie record intact with an impressive finishing burst to take out the $175,000 Group Two Eagle Technology Avondale Cup (2400m). His 13-start career has now produced four wins and $760,175 in stakes, having been bought by Bruce Perry Bloodstock for $450,000 from Curraghmore’s draft at the 2020 Ready to Run Sale.

Plagued by injuries since his Group One triumph in the Derby at only his fourth career start in March of 2022, Asterix had shown promising signs over shorter distances in his first three starts this season.

The step back up to his favoured 2400 metres was all he needed to rediscover peak form, flying out of the pack in the straight to run down Dionysus (NZ) (Ocean Park) and score by half a length.

“That was a big thrill,” jockey Lynsey Satherley said. “When I came out in the straight and put one behind his tail, jeez, he just took off.

“The speed was on and they quickened at the half-mile, but I was told to be patient, and when I came out he was really explosive. He will stay all day, this horse.”

Saturday’s win was a welcome reward for Matamata trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott and their staff, who have handled him patiently throughout his series of issues.

“His three runs prior to today had been very encouraging,” Scott said. “He got back off a slow pace last time but worked home well in the straight. It is just great to see his stride back. He settled beautifully, and Lynsey rode him to a tee. It was just a really good Auckland Cup trial for three weeks’ time.

“It’s a credit to the team. He has had a lot of troubles throughout his career, and the guys have put a lot of time into him to get him to this stage. We had to let him grow his feet out, and then he had a heart fibrillation and got the thumps after we took him to Sydney. We have brought him up slowly with this in mind and we are hoping he can have a great recovery from here.”

A half-sister to Asterix by Ocean Park (NZ) was offered by Curraghmore during Book 1 of Karaka 2024. She was bought by Annabel Neasham Racing and Blandford Bloodstock for just $50,000.

Karaka graduates completed a clean sweep of the first three placings in the Avondale Cup. Runner-up Dionysus cost $45,000 in Book 1 of Karaka 2019, and he has had 28 starts for six wins, seven placings and $428,555 in stakes.

The third-placed Good Oil (NZ) (Dalghar) was bought for only $4000 from Book 3 of Karaka 2020. He has earned $160,400 from a 24-start career, winning four times and placing in another seven races.

Vendor Curraghmore
Purchaser Bruce Perry Bloodstock (BAFNZ) (Wellington)
Breeding Tavistock – Mourasana
Sale Lot 305, 2020 Ready to Run Sale, $450,000
Bred by Go Bloodstock New Zealand Ltd