Warhorse Tiptronic triumphs in Zabeel Classic
Veteran galloper Tiptronic led all the way to take out his second career Group One prize when he captured the Gr.1 Cambridge Stud Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie
The Graham Richardson and Rogan Norvall-trained eight-year-old had hinted he could return to his best form when finishing on strongly for third in the Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at his most recent start.
The son of O’Reilly had finished fifth in the race a year earlier after being forced to sit three-wide throughout, however this time rider Ashvin Goindasamy followed Richardson’s instructions to the letter as he took Tiptronic to the front and set a steady pace throughout.
Goindasamy upped the tempo approaching the home turn and it was obvious he had his rivals in trouble as Tiptronic slipped two lengths clear early in the run home.
Refusing to yield, Tiptronic held out a brave bid from runner-up Vernanme, holding on to win by a length and a half as race favourite Two Illicit produced a late run to take third.
Richardson was finding it hard to digest what had just happened as he waited for his charge to return to the Ellerslie birdcage.
“This horse deserves that as he is a real trooper and tries so hard every time,” he said.
“He is a real warhorse.
“I said to Ashvin to take him to the front and try and stack them up, then take off at the 600m as he is one-paced, even though it is a very fast pace.
“This is as big a thrill as anything and it really hasn’t sunk in yet.
‘He has a large bunch of owners and it is incredible for them as this is what they are in it for.”
Richardson confirmed they now would assess what weight the horse would receive for the Collinson Forex Karaka Cup (2200m) at Karaka Million night on January 22, before deciding on the next start for Tiptronic, who is also being set for the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa in February, a race he won in 2020, having finished runner-up the year prior.
Goindasamy was shedding tears of joy as he returned to the Ellerslie birdcage after capturing his first Group One contest, a breakthrough for the Mauritian whose father was a trackwork rider in his homeland.
“This just means everything, the best Christmas ever,” he said.
“During the week I was pretty confident after his last run and he is a Group One winner who would just keep on running.
“He travelled pretty good and had an easy lead and Mr Richardson had told me to get going at the 600m, which I did.
“He just kept giving and did it well.
“My dad always wanted to be a jockey and couldn’t make it, so this is very special for me.
“It’s something I have dreamed about and today I made it happen.”
Tiptronic was bred by Waikato Stud and is by the late champion sire O’Reilly from the Pins mare Tiptoes, a sister to multiple Group One winner Legs.
He has now won eight of his 45 starts and over $758,000 for his large syndicate of owners, after being purchased by Richardson for $100,000 at Karaka in 2015.
The winning result was a special one for co-trainer and former jockey Norvall, who won the race aboard Veyron in 2012 after finishing runner-up on the same horse in 2011, and was landing his first elite level success as a trainer. – NZ Racing Desk
Early feature double sets up another big Boxing Day for Te Akau
A year on from their five-win bonanza on Boxing Day at Ellerslie last year, Te Akau Racing and trainer Jamie Richards got the 2021 edition of the famous fixture off to an eerily similar start.
Two-year-old Palamos kicked off the big haul 12 months ago, followed by star three-year-old filly Amarelinha in the Gr.2 Jamieson Park Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and Brando in the Listed Shaw’s Wire Ropes Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m). Sunday brought a sense of déjà vu with victories in the same three races.
Grace ‘N’ Grey headed a stable quinella in the Civic Contractors 1100 for two-year-olds, Belle En Rouge added the Eight Carat Classic to an outstanding run of form through the early stages of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, and one of last season’s elite two-year-olds On The Bubbles was back at his brilliant best in the Uncle Remus Stakes.
For good measure, Richards also had an early winner at Awapuni as the unbeaten Fortuna Syndications up-and-comer Mohawk Brave stormed home to capture the Aberdeen on Broadway 3YO (1200m).
Belle En Rouge’s heroics have brought special satisfaction for Richards and the Te Akau team, with the Burgundy filly being not only raced by the Te Akau Beautiful In Red Racing Partnership, but also bred by David Ellis and Karyn Fenton-Ellis.
A creditable third placegetter in the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) in October and Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) in November, Belle En Rouge has gone to a new level in recent weeks with back-to-back black-type successes in the Gr.3 Eulogy Stakes (1600m) and the Eight Carat Classic.
Sent out as a $2.20 favourite on Sunday, Belle En Rouge enjoyed a cosy run just behind the front-running Lady Koval before taking command at the turn.
Jockey Opie Bosson drove her clear down the straight, and she put herself out of reach of strong-finishing longshots The High Priestess and Princess Lowry to win by three-quarters of a length.
Belle En Rouge has now had seven starts for three wins and three placings, earning more than $158,000 in stakes and moving into a clear lead in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series with 19 points. Stablemate The Perfect Pink, who won last month’s Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton, is in second place with 12 points.
“She was given a lovely ride by Opie, who summed it up perfectly,” Richards said. “There was no tempo down the back, and he was able to get her up into the right spot.
“She’s just a good, genuine, honest filly. She can be a bit hard to get a line on around the stables, but she turns up when it matters.
“She’s been busy – going down to Riccarton, then through to Palmy and now up to Ellerslie today, and she’s done a wonderful job. We’ll look after her and she probably won’t run again for a month or so now.
“She was bred by David and Karyn, and it’s great to pick up a Group Two win with a homebred filly.”
Belle En Rouge’s next target is likely to be another special race for the stable – the Gr.2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 12.
Just one race later Richards and Bosson combined once again as On The Bubbles inflicted the first defeat on fellow three-year-old and race favourite Pareanui Bay, when he held out a strong challenge from the Tony Pike-trained runner in the Uncle Remus Stakes.
Second-up after a lengthy break following his Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) victory to round out a stunning debut season that also saw him capture the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m), On The Bubbles showed he will be a force to be reckoned with over the summer with a commanding performance.
Settled on the back of the early speed, Bosson attacked on the home corner as he shot his mount to the front shortly after straightening and then cuddled him up as he waited for the inevitable challenge from Pareanui Bay.
Bosson asked for the supreme effort at the 200m as the pair set down to fight out the finish with On The Bubbles holding a half-length margin at the line, as Marchand dashed into third.
It was a tough effort as the set weights and penalties conditions doesn’t really suit him,” Richards said.
“He had to carry the weight (60.5kgs) and much like the filly (Belle En Rouge) in the previous, he was aided by a top ride by Opie.
“He put him in a good position and he toughed it out all the way up the straight.
“He is tough and genuine and gives 100 percent, so it was a really good effort.”
Richards will now aim On The Bubbles for the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on January 22 where TAB bookmakers have him as the dominant $2.80 favourite.
“He had the improvement under his belt from last time and I was quietly confident,” Bosson said.
“I heard them coming and so did he, so he put his head out and dug in some more.
“It just shows how good he is.”
Meanwhile, both front-running filly Grace ‘N’ Grey and promising first-starter Dynastic have put themselves in the frame for next month’s Doubletree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) with their one-two finish in the Civic Contractors 1100.
“Danielle (Johnson) did a good on Grace ‘N’ Grey, dictating the pace,” Richards said. “She got a couple of cheap sectionals across the top and quickened well off the corner. She still lacks a bit of ringcraft, but it’s good to get her up here to Ellerslie and have a look around before the Karaka Million.
“Dynastic did it tough out there, three wide, but I was pleased with the way he found the line. He’s a colt we’ve got a lot of time for. Time will be his friend, but we’ll play around with him for the next week to 10 days and make a call. He’d be on the cusp regarding prize-money to get in to the Karaka Million.
“But they’re two really nice horses that Dave bought at Karaka.”
Richards was at it again just two races later when he produce Festivity and Vamos Bebe to quinella the Listed Hallmark Stud Handicap (1200m) for his third stakes victory on the day. – NZ Racing Desk
Richards provides quinella in Ellerslie sprint feature
On a day where he dominated the first two black-type events on an action-packed programme, it was no surprise that trainer Jamie Richards would continue to make his mark on the feature races later on the card including providing the quinella in the Listed Hallmark Stud Handicap (1200m).
Following wins by Belle En Rouge in the Gr.2 Jamieson Park Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and On The Bubbles in the Listed Shaw’s Wire Ropes Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m), Richards lined up quality mares Festivity and Vamos Bebe in the 1200m dash and they did their mentor proud with a one-two finish.
Sent out the $2.80 favourite, Vamos Bebe and rider Danielle Johnson looked to have the field in trouble when they hit the front with 250m to run, however Opie Bosson (who had been aboard the previous two winners for Richards) had tracked the stablemate everywhere on Festivity and popped out of her slipstream to issue his challenge.
The pair went head-to-head over the concluding stages with Festivity proving strongest in a driving finish to take the race by a head.
“It has been a great day so far,” Richards said.
“She ended up getting in a lovely spot although they didn’t go overly fast.
“She started overdoing it a little but followed Vamos Bebe everywhere she went and had the last laugh.
“She is a good quality mare, who had no luck in the spring. I was disappointed with the way things went so we put her out and gave her a couple of trials as we started again.
“This has been her target for a little while, although I am a little gutted that Vamos Bebe wasn’t able to get a little payback from last season.”
Vamos Bebe had won the race in 2020 but was subsequently disqualified for returning an irregularity in a post-race swab.
Richards will now monitor the recovery rate of Festivity who still holds a nomination for the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s day.
“It was great to see her get some black type today as she is part of a breeding syndicate that Dave (Ellis) put together after he bought her at Karaka,” Richards said.
“We will get her home and take a look at her for a couple of days as she is still in the Railway here on New Year’s day.
“Whether she runs there or not I’m not entirely sure, but there is also the Telegraph (Gr.1, 1200m) and some other black type races that we can have a think about.”
Te Akau boss David Ellis outlaid $410,000 for the daughter of I Am Invincible, purchasing her out of the Windsor Park Stud draft during the Book 1 session at Karka in 2018.
She has now won six of her 12 starts for just over $136,000 in prizemoney. – NZ Racing Desk