Red hot favourite Avantage could face vastly different opposition with almost certainly a new rider when the New Zealand Group 1 season kicks off at Hastings in 12 days.

But while he can't control many of those factors, one thing that doesn't bother her trainer Jamie Richards is the often dreaded second-up syndrome.

After a professional win in the Foxbridge Plate on Saturday at Te Rapa, Avantage is $1.80 with the TAB to win the Group 1 Tarzino at Hastings on Saturday week, remarkably short even though she looks certain to improve with the step up to 1400m.

Rival trainer Allan Sharrock was beaming about getting Tavi Mac into the Tarzino with a run-of-the-race performance behind Avantage and admits he might be clutching at straws but hopes the glamour girl isn't as potent second-up.


"My fella was great, and reverse the draws, maybe we go close to beating Avantage," says Sharrock.

"But we are in the big dance now and just have to hope Avantage isn't as good second-up."

Avantage's record would suggest that isn't an issue, as she won the Telegraph second-up last season and finished third to Everest-bound Classique Legend in the Group 2 Arrowfield at Randwick second-up last year.

"I am not worried about the second-up thing," says Avantage's trainer Richards.

"I think it is more of a factor when they aren't really fit going into their first-up run but she was.

"I am sure she will be sharper for Hastings."

Richards says it is very likely stable jockey Opie Bosson will be back on Avantage in the Tarzino, as was always the plan, providing he can make her weight.

That would mean Saturday's winning jockey Danielle Johnson probably rides Supera, one of the newcomers to the Tarzino, who wasn't in the Foxbridge.


Trainer Ken Kelso confirmed that is Supera's target.

But stablemate Princess Kereru won't be at Hastings as she has been retired and will visit Almanzor.

Richards is unsure Prise De Fer will be in the Tarzino as he is reluctant to travel him to Hastings for all three legs of the Triple Crown but The Mitigator and Jennifer Eccles are Group 1 winners who will join the Tarzino battle.

Jennifer Eccles being in the race will likely see jockey Jason Waddell ride her over old mate Julius but there is no guarantee the latter will make it to Hastings after having sore bumpers yesterday after his below-par Foxbridge effort.

He was feeling it yesterday, said trainer John Bell, "but we will give him his chance to get to Hastings and know more next week".

The connections of Kiwi Ida, who was brave on Saturday, are trying to get jockey Chris Johnson clearance to come up from the South Island to ride her in the Tarzino.


Demonetization, who was a booming fourth, and support-race winner Bavella are others keen on a Tarzino start if they get in.