Group One Gallopers Chase Triple Crown Firsts
5 March 2020
While the $100,000 NZB Insurance Weight-For-Age Triple Crown bonus is no longer a possibility this season, three runners in Saturday’s $200,000 Group One Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie have the chance to achieve an unprecedented feat.
Along with the Sprint Triple Crown and Fillies and Mares’ Triple Crown, the Weight-For-Age Triple Crown is one of three NZB Insurance Series introduced this year to boost prize-money through New Zealand’s feature summer and autumn racing. Each Series carries a $100,000 bonus for any horse who can win all of the three designated races.
The Sprint Triple Crown has already concluded, with a different winner for each of the three races – Julius (NZ) (Swiss Ace) in the Group One Railway (1200m), Avantage (Fastnet Rock) in the Group One Telegraph (1200m) and Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) in the Group One BCD Group Sprint (1400m).
The Weight-For-Age Triple Crown has so far followed a similar script. True Enough (NZ) (Nom du Jeu) won the Group One Zabeel Classic (2000m), but he was then defeated by Tiptronic (NZ) (O’Reilly) in a photo finish in the Group One Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m).
True Enough and Tiptronic will head to Ellerslie for a rematch on Saturday, both attempting to become the first horse to win more than one leg of any NZB Insurance Triple Crown Series.
But they are not the only ones chasing some Triple Crown history. Avantage, who won the Telegraph over 1200 metres less than two months ago, could achieve the highly unusual feat of winning races in more than one Triple Crown category. She is a last-start Group One winner over 1600 metres and will step up to 2000 metres for the first time on Saturday.
On The Rocks (NZ) (Alamosa) was a Group One winner in last year’s Herbie Dyke Stakes, while Prise De Fer (NZ) (Savabeel), Rock On Wood (NZ) (Redwood), Supera (NZ) (Savabeel) and Rondinella (NZ) (Ocean Park) have all placed at the elite level.
The New Zealand Stakes will be run as Race 8 on Saturday, with a start time of 4:55pm.
|1||Tiptronic||4||The $400,000 Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa has become a career-defining race for Tiptronic (NZ) (O'Reilly). He finished second in it last year, and four weeks ago it was the setting for his first Group 1 victory. But he also excels at Ellerslie, where he has won twice including a five-length romp earlier this year. He has also placed in major Ellerslie features such as the Group 2 Auckland Guineas (1600m) and Rich Hill Mile (1600m).||Graham Richardson||Jason Waddell|
|2||True Enough||2||True Enough (NZ) (Nom du Jeu) has won nine of his 21 starts, and he has risen through the grades this season with victories in the Group 3 Spring Sprint (1400m), Group 2 Coupland's Bakeries Mile (1600m) and Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m). His NZB Insurance Weight-For-Age Triple Crown hopes were extinguished by the smallest of margins in the Herbie Dyke Stakes, beaten by a nose by Tiptronic.||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||Matt Cameron|
|3||On The Rocks||9||A multiple stakes winner at Ellerslie including in the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m), quality galloper On The Rocks (NZ) (Alamosa) claimed his first Group 1 win in last year's Herbie Dyke Stakes. He has been unplaced in the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) and Herbie Dyke in his last two starts, but has struck bad luck in both races.||Michael Moroney & Pam Gerard||James Winks|
|4||Prise De Fer||8||Prise De Fer (NZ) (Savabeel) has been one of this season's breakthrough stars, winning five in a row including the Rich Hill Mile and the Group 3 Taranaki Cup (1800m). He stepped up to Group 1 level last start in the Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m) at Otaki, finishing a gallant second to stablemate Avantage (Fastnet Rock) and two lengths ahead of the rest of the field.||Jamie Richards||Johnathan Parkes|
|5||Rock On Wood||6||It was less than a year ago that Rock On Wood (NZ) (Redwood) claimed his first black-type win in the Listed Anzac Mile (1600m), but he has wasted no time in climbing all of the way to the top. He finished second in the Group 2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) in December, then a luckless fourth in the Group 1 Thorndon Mile and third in the Herbie Dyke Stakes.||Leanne Elliot||Ryan Elliot|
|6||Gino Severini||5||Gino Severini (Fastnet Rock) was born in Ireland and raced there and in Hong Kong before travelling to New Zealand in 2018. He has collected four wins in this country, including back-to-back victories in January of this year. He then stepped up to Group 1 level and ran fourth in the Herbie Dyke Stakes.||Bruce Wallace & Grant Cooksley||Leith Innes|
|7||Justamaiz||7||Justamaiz (NZ) (Guillotine) has emerged as a leading stayer this season, a rise that culminated in the Group 3 Waikato Cup (2400m) at Te Rapa in December. But he was one of the late scratchings after a false start in the Group 3 City of Auckland Cup (2400m) on New Year's Day, then finished third-last in his only subsequent start in the Group 3 Wellington Cup (3200m). This is his first start in a Group 1 weight-for-age race.||David Greene||Michael Coleman|
|8||Avantage||1||A former champion two-year-old and a Group winner in Sydney as a three-year-old, Te Akau Racing star Avantage (Fastnet Rock) has enjoyed an excellent summer with Group 1 victories in the Telegraph (1200m) and Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m). The latter was her first attempt at 1600 metres, and she will now attempt another step up to 2000 metres. Her extraordinary stablemate Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) won this race last year in her first 2000-metre start.||Jamie Richards||Opie Bosson|
|9||Supera||10||Pencarrow mare Supera (NZ) (Savabeel) is a multiple Group 2 winner, including in last year's Travis Stakes (2000m) over this distance. She was beaten favourite when fourth in the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) in December and has had setbacks since, but won impressively on her home track of Matamata last month to set her up for this target.||Ken & Bev Kelso||Danielle Johnson|
|10||Rondinella||3||Rondinella (NZ) (Ocean Park) finished third in this race last year behind the multiple Group 1 winners Melody Belle and Danzdanzdance (Mastercraftsman). Rondinella then travelled to Sydney, where she finished third in the Group 1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) and fourth in the Sydney Cup (3200m). She picked up another two stakes placings in Melbourne in the spring, then resumed with a close third in the Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie in January. She was seventh in the Haunui Farm WFA Classic last start.||Roger James & Robert Wellwood||Vinnie Colgan|