Jamie Richards was born the year turf immortal Bonecrusher retired - 1989.

So while the 29-year-old Te Akau Racing head trainer never got the chance to see the New Zealand Hall of Fame galloper race, he knows his racing history and understands just how good the 1986 Cox Plate champion was.

Today, Richards will saddle the unbeaten Delago Deluxe gelding Total Excess in the group three Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie today, chasing a victory that would add to the family folklore involving the horse the three-year-old feature is named after.

When Richards and then training partner Stephen Autridge produced Xtravagant to win the 2015 group one 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton, it not not only brought up the young trainer's first win at racing's elite level but invoked memories of Random Chance's 1985 defeat of Bonecrusher in the same race.


Richards' maternal grandparents Garry and Lorraine McDonnell had won Random Chance as the third prize in a raffle and it was fitting he watched Xtravagant's win in their company 30 years after their great ownership triumph.

While Shane Anderton rode Random Chance to his Guineas win, Richards' father Paul, one of Otago's finest jockeys, became the horse's regular rider in the latter part of his career, most notably for wins in the Canterbury Gold Cup, Counties Cup and Wrightson Plate at Ellerslie.

And Paul Richards was also part of another famous Bonecrusher occasion when the chestnut triumphed in the group three White Robe Lodge Handicap (1600m) on one of Wingatui's biggest days of racing in 1988.

Richards rode the runner-up Robinski and recalls having the race won everywhere but the post.

"I had him beaten everywhere but the last stride. Tom Lalor trained Robinski and he carried 50 kilos and Bonecrusher had 57," said Richards, these days a stable foreman for his son at Te Akau Racing.

"I watched a replay with Jumbo Didham and said 'I might have gone a shade early' but Jumbo said 'you couldn't have done anything more'.

"He was a good horse, Robinski. He was later sold to the United States and did a good job up there."

Total Excess has some way to go to warrant mentioning in the same regard but Jamie Richards reckons his charge can make his presence felt in the Bonecrusher Stakes.

"He's a progressive sort of horse and he's come through his Awapuni win well," Richards said. "He's got to take the next step up but we think he can.

"We think he'll run well. His trackwork has been good. It's a pretty evenly-matched field and we think he can measure up."

On a good programme, expect the progressive Santa Monica to continue her good form in race five, the Celebrating Dawn Williams' 1000th Winner 1200, and Red Sky At Night to race well in the last, the Auckland Co-Op Taxis 2200, after eye-catching runs in her last two, most recently getting bogged down on the inside in the last race on a wet Counties Cup day.

At Trentham, expect Jon Snow to relish conditions and prove hard to beat in the feature group one Captain Cook Stakes (1600m), with Portland Jimmy (race six) and Lincoln Raider (race nine) other attractive betting prospects on the card.