Scintillating Sprint a Seventh Group One Triumph for Avantage

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Avantage claimes her seventh Group One victory.

No son or daughter of international champion sire Fastnet Rock has won more Group One titles than Karaka graduate Avantage, who triumphed at the elite level for the seventh time in Saturday’s $200,000 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa. 

Bought by Te Akau’s David Ellis for $210,000 from The Oaks Stud’s draft at the 2017 Premier Sale, Avantage has now won 14 of her 24 starts and more than $1.9 million in stakes. Her Group One victories have come over 1200, 1400, 1600 and 2000 metres.

“That’s seven Group One wins now, and she’s won more Group One races than any other son or daughter of Fastnet Rock anywhere in the world,” syndicate manager Karyn Fenton-Ellis said. “We’re extraordinarily proud. You’d have to go a long way to find another horse who can win Group One races over such a wide range of distances. It’s been an outstanding training feat by Jamie Richards.”

Avantage’s scintillating performance in Saturday’s BCD Group Sprint was one of her very best. Opie Bosson had her perfectly positioned behind the front-running Manrico (NZ) (Shocking), then released the brakes and allowed her to cruise up alongside that rival coming up to the home turn.

It was a one-act affair from there as Avantage went into full flight, charging away to win by three and a half lengths in a sizzling time of 1:20.87.

“1:20 – wow, that’s an incredible time,” David Ellis said. “I can’t believe how easily she won that race. I said before the race that she looked the best I’ve ever seen her, and she’s performed accordingly.”

The win prompted wild celebrations among the Te Akau Avantage Syndicate, many of flooded into the birdcage dressed in matching tangerine Avantage capes.

“The commentator George Simon said Avantage was in seventh heaven today, and the owners certainly are too,” Karyn Fenton-Ellis said. “They’re a wonderful bunch of people, dressed for the occasion today and celebrating one of the very best mares in Australasia.”

It was a third consecutive BCD Group Sprint triumph for trainer Jamie Richards and the Te Akau team, all with Karaka graduates. Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) won by a similar margin last year, and Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) triumphed in 2019.

“Avantage has won our two premier sprints in her last two starts, the Railway (1200m) and the Telegraph (1200m), and today she’s stepped up to 1400 metres extremely well,” Richards said.

“I think she’s getting better and better – she’s becoming more and more of a professional racehorse. It’s been a great team effort by all the staff at home, and we’ve got a terrific group of owners here with us today who are on the ride of a lifetime. She’s a wonderful mare, and I think there’s still so much more to come.”

That could include a shot at Group One glory across the Tasman, where Avantage has previously won the Group Three Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) in Sydney and placed behind superstar sprinter Classique Legend (Not a Single Doubt) in the Group Two Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m).

“We’ll take a couple of days to work through our options,” Richards said. “I really do believe that she has a Group One win in Australia in her, and I’d like to give her that opportunity. Timing will be everything, so we’ll work through it.”

Runner-up Callsign Mav (NZ) (Atlante) was bought for $3000 at the 2017 National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale. He was a Group One winner earlier this season and has now earned $269,550 in stakes.

Third-placed Mascarpone (NZ) (Shooting to Win) is also a Karaka graduate, secured by Team Rogerson for $160,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2018. He has earned $172,625 in his 18-start career to date.


The Oaks Stud


Mr DC Ellis (Te Akau)


Fastnet Rock – Asavant


Lot 50, 2017 Premier Sale, $210,000

Bred by

Mr W Calder & Mrs K N Calder