Talented three-year-old Amarelinha gave her rivals a galloping lesson as she claimed a brilliant victory in the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham.
The Jamie Richards-trained Savabeel filly had been expected to dominate proceedings after winning four of her last five starts, but even the best laid plans can come unstuck and that was nearly the case on Saturday.
Backers of the $1.60 favourite had their hearts in their mouths as the gates opened with Amarelinha appearing to jump in the air and nearly dislodge rider Opie Bosson.
The move cost her early momentum and forced Bosson to track three-wide leaving the home straight the first time, before Bosson was able to slot into a nice position one-off the fence in midfield.
From there on the result appeared to be in little doubt as Bosson sent Amarelinha forward to challenge on the home turn and then urged her two lengths clear with a brilliant burst of speed.
Eventual runner-up Charms Star chased gamely after her but had to settle for second, a length astern of the winner, with Llanacord making up good ground to finish third.
Richards was wearing a beaming smile as he listened to the raucous chants of the Boys Get Paid syndicate celebrating Bosson and the stylish victory.
“I don’t know what happened at the start as she just fell out of the barrier and he (Bosson) was lucky he stuck with her,” he said.
“She sort of dropped in then he got going, got round them and then had to drop in again.
“Full credit to Opie though as he rode a lovely race, found the back of the right one coming to the corner and then got going on the bend.
“She was brilliant today and is a very good filly.
“I’m really thrilled for everyone concerned.”
Purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $300,000 out of the Waikato Stud draft during the Karaka 2019 Book 1 sale, Amarelinha has now won five of her seven starts and over $517,000 in prizemoney for owners, the Te Akau Hopskip'n'jump Syndicate.
Despite the ease of the victory, Richards is in two minds as to whether to extend her campaign with a trip to Sydney or to head to the spelling paddock if the wet tracks across the Tasman persist.
“We’ve been to this race before and haven’t had a lot of luck so I’m glad to tick it off today,” he said.
“We will have a look at Aussie, but she needs good ground so we will take her home and have a look at her before we make any further plans.”
Bosson, who was having a quiet chuckle as he listened to his name being chanted from the grandstand, was full of praise for the effort by Amarelinha despite the hair-raising start.
“I love this atmosphere with all the noise, it’s good for racing,” he said.
“We jumped straight up in the air at the start and I though oh no!
“The plan was to ride her handy and we were five spots further back than I wanted to be.
“To her credit she relaxed beautifully and I had to control her turn of foot as I was going to get there (the front) too soon on her.
“She heard the other one coming and gave me some more, which is the mark of a good horse.”
Bred by Waikato Stud, Amarelinha becomes the twenty second individual Group One winner for their resident super sire Savabeel. She is out of O’Reilly mare Hopscotch and hails from the extended family of multiple Group One winner Metal Bender and Group One-winning sprinter and successful former Cambridge Stud stallion Keeper. – NZ Racing Desk