Avantage continued her march into the realms of super stardom when she made it career Group One number eight with a gritty win in the Gr.1 El Cheapo Cars Weight-For-Age Classic (1600m).
Unbeaten in three starts, all at Group One level, in her current campaign, Avantage was confidently expected to take Otaki’s elite feature on Saturday to make it four in a row and she duly obliged under a confident ride from Opie Bosson.
Bosson had the Fastnet Rock mare positioned perfectly outside the pacemaker Deerfield throughout before issuing a confident challenge at the 300m. Kept up to her work by Bosson, Avantage held out a gallant late bid from Callsign Mav, who had tracked all the way and took the victory by half a length with Travelling Light showing her best form of late with a nice run into third.
Bosson was full of praise for the effort by his mount, who showed all her fighting qualities in the last 100m to hold out Callsign Mav.
“The plan was to go forward and ride her positively early,” Bosson said.
“We got into a little bit of trouble when Deerfield came across us, but she came back off him, relaxed nicely and did everything right.
“I could see him (Callsign Mav) out of the corner of my eye, but once I gave her a few backhanders she put her head out and had a crack.
“That just shows you how good a racehorse she is, she just loves it.”
With trainer Jamie Richards busy back on his home track at Matamata, it was left to his father Paul to travel with the mare to Otaki and he was thrilled with the result.
“Halfway down the straight she had a fight on her hands and she found plenty,” he said.
“She is an amazing athlete who has been doing this since she was a two-year-old and there is still plenty ahead of her.
“She will travel home and the team will look after her, but I think at this stage her next target could be the Bonecrusher Stakes (Gr.1, 2000m) at Ellerslie.”
Jamie Richards confirmed that the Gr.1 Bonecrusher Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on March 13 would be the next race on the card for Avantage provided she progressed well from her efforts at Otaki. He also confirmed that a potential trip to Australia later in the autumn was also being considered although no definite arrangements had been made as yet. – NZ Racing Desk