Super Spring Saturday for Karaka Graduates

Monday, September 7, 2020

The first Saturday of spring brought a flurry of high-quality Group races across Australasia, and graduates of New Zealand Bloodstock Sales played a starring role.

Avantage Excels in Foxbridge

Avantage (Fastnet Rock) dominates the Group Two Valachi Downs Foxbridge Plate (1200m).
Avantage (Fastnet Rock) dominates the Group Two Valachi Downs Foxbridge Plate (1200m).

Top-class Karaka graduate Avantage (Fastnet Rock) began her five-year-old season on the perfect note in Saturday’s $100,000 Group Two Valachi Downs Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa.

Bought by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis for $210,000 at the 2017 Premier Sale, Avantage has been a flagbearer for the powerful stable across every season of her racing career.

As a juvenile she won the Karaka Million Two-Year-Old (1200m) and the Group One Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) and was crowned New Zealand’s Champion Two-Year-Old. The following season she was a Group winner on both sides of the Tasman.

Avantage went to a new level as a four-year-old with Group One victories in the Telegraph (1200m), Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m) and New Zealand Stakes (2000m), and Saturday’s stylish return could be the start of more of the same.

Ridden by Danielle Johnson, Avantage found a prominent position early in the race and angled out into clear running at the top of the straight. She wore down the front-running Tavi Mac (NZ) (Tavistock) through the last 200 metres to score a one-length win.

“She’s a hell of a good mare and it was one of the best rides you’d ever see from Danielle,” David Ellis said. “It was 10 out of 10. She kept her on the job without too much pressure, allowed her to relax for a while and then set out after the leader. It was very good ride and she has a fantastic record on her, winning four out of five.”

Trainer Jamie Richards was delighted to see the star mare resume in winning form.

“It was a big run,” he said. “She’d been coming up really well, been away for a gallop, and showed she was in for a good preparation the way she trialled at Taupo.

“Danielle was able to sneak her up on the inside on the home corner today, and once she was clear she found a good kick. The second horse took some running down and she was probably on empty the last 50 metres, but she is a really good mare who is a real winner.”

Avantage has now had 18 starts for 11 wins, four placings and more than $1.47 million in stakes – seven times her purchase price.

Through the rest of the spring, Richards will give Avantage the opportunity to add more Group One trophies to her collection. She holds nominations for the Tarzino Trophy (1400m), Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and Livamol Classic (2040m).

“The plan is to go to Hastings in a fortnight for the Tarzino,” Richards said. “She should take good benefit out of today’s run, and the two weeks between races will be ideal.”

Vendor The Oaks Stud
Purchaser Mr DC Ellis (Te Akau)
Breeding Fastnet Rock – Asavant
Sale Lot 50, 2017 Premier Sale, $210,000
Bred by Mr W Calder & Mrs K N Calder

Need I Say More Extends Perfect Record

Need I Say More (No Nay Never) remained unbeaten in the Group Three Whangarei Racing Club Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m).
Need I Say More (No Nay Never) remained unbeaten in the Group Three Whangarei Racing Club Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m).

Exciting three-year-old Need I Say More (No Nay Never) extended his unbeaten record to three out of three with a dominant victory in the $70,000 Group Three Whangarei Racing Club Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Offered by Kilgravin Lodge in Book 1 of Karaka 2019, the flashy chestnut was a $130,000 purchase by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis.

Owned by the Te Akau Never Say Die syndicate, Need I Say More won both of his appearances last season including the Group Three Waikato Stud Slipper (1200m) at Matamata in late February.

Saturday was his first appearance since then, and this was a triumphant return. He was sent straight to the lead by jockey Craig Grylls and dominated the race from there, kicking strongly in the straight and emphatically proving his superiority over a strong field. He crossed the finish line two and a three-quarter lengths clear.

“It was a really good win by a promising sort of horse,” trainer Jamie Richards said. “He’s a little bit hard to get a line on at home, but his work has improved and he’s obviously a horse that saves his best for raceday. There’s no doubt about that.

“He’d had a good, strong build up. A couple of nice trials, done everything well, and kicked on with a good job today to remain unbeaten, which is never easy to do.

“He is another great purchase by Dave (Ellis). You just never know where these good horses come from. He was one of the last ones he bought, and he’s put his hand up as a top-liner.

“There is further improvement to come. He’s not there in the coat just yet.”

With three wins from three starts to date, Need I Say More has earned $87,800 in stakes.

Runner-up De La Terre (NZ) (Reliable Man) was also a graduate of Book 1 of Karaka 2019, bought for $55,000 by Rogerson Bloodstock.

Vendor Kilgravin Lodge
Purchaser Mr DC Ellis (Te Akau)
Breeding No Nay Never – Bo Bardi
Sale Lot 606, Karaka 2019 Book 1, $130,000
Bred by Burnewang North Pastoral

Brilliant Valley Victory for Showmanship (NZ)

Showmanship (NZ) (Showcasing) claimed the Listed Strathmore Community Bendigo Bank Stakes (1200m).
Showmanship (NZ) (Showcasing) claimed the Listed Strathmore Community Bendigo Bank Stakes (1200m).

Showmanship (NZ) (Showcasing) continued his impressive rise with another big performance in Saturday’s A$140,000 Listed Strathmore Community Bendigo Bank Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.

Bought for $145,000 at the 2017 Select Sale, the Western Australian star stepped up to stakes level for the first time on Saturday and passed that test with flying colours.

Ridden by William Pike, the five-year-old stalked the early leader before assuming command around the home turn and scoring comfortably by a length and a quarter.

Moonee Valley is an unfamiliar circuit for Perth-based Pike, but Showmanship gave him an easy ride.

“I was worried because I’m a fish out of water here,” he said. “But, after the race, I’m not sure what I was worried about. I think the tricky part about it is if you're not travelling. When you're travelling, like I was then, it seems a lot easier.”

Showmanship has now had eight starts for seven wins, already exceeding his purchase price with $294,125 in prize-money in his short career to date.

“He’s a wonderful animal,” said Grant Williams, who co-trains for prominent Perth owner Bob Peters.

“He's pretty easy to do anything with. We'll have a good chat with Bob about what to do next, but he was hoping he'd win today so we could keep his options open. While he's running like this. I don't think we have to worry about stretching him out.”

Vendor Haunui Farm
Purchaser John Chalmers Bloodstock (Western Australia)
Breeding Showcasing – Khales
Sale Lot 779, 2017 Select Sale, $145,000
Bred by Haunui Bloodstock

Only Words (NZ) Powers to Guineas Glory

Only Words (NZ) (Sweynesse) wins first black-type victory in the Listed HS Dyke Wanganui Guineas (1200m).
Only Words (NZ) (Sweynesse) wins first black-type victory in the Listed HS Dyke Wanganui Guineas (1200m).

Unwanted at the 2018 Karaka May Sale, Only Words (NZ) (Sweynesse) struck black-type gold in Saturday’s $50,000 Listed HS Dyke Wanganui Guineas (1200m).

Kept away from the rail in midfield by jockey Shaun McKay, the Clinton Isdale-trained filly produced a relentless surge in the straight and scored a gritty victory by a neck.

“She seems to be getting better every race and is a filly with a lot of ability,” McKay told NZ Racing Desk.

“She relaxed really nicely and when I got her to the middle of the track in the straight, she really showed a turn of foot. Clint told me I could keep the ride, so I’m thrilled about that.”

Raced by Isdale in partnership with Asian World Racing on a lease from breeder Luigi Muollo’s Explosive Breeding, Only Words has now had six starts for two wins, a placing and $38,550 in stakes.

“We were using today’s race as a measure against what we might be up against going forward, so to win like she did is very encouraging,” Isdale said.

“I think the best thing now is to put her in the paddock for 10 days and let her get over the run and the trip away and then look at what is available to us.

“She likes it on drier ground than she raced on today. She relaxes well and when you give her one around the bum she just goes through her gears in an instant.

“It’s pretty exciting – as the better tracks start to come around, we’ll have a lot to work with.”

The Wanganui Guineas produced a trifecta for Karaka graduates. Runner-up Atishu (NZ) (Savabeel) was a $260,000 purchase from Book 1 of Karaka 2019, while the third-placed Miss Dixie (NZ) (Contributer) cost $20,000 in Book 2.

Vendor Novara Park
Breeding Sweynesse – Jungle Pago
Sale Lot 195, 2018 May Sale, Psd
Bred by Explosive Breeding