Avantage continued her march into the realms of superstardom when she made it career Group 1 No 8 with a gritty win in the Weight-For-Age Classic (1600m) at Ōtaki yesterday.
Unbeaten in three starts, all at Group 1 level, in this campaign, Avantage was expected to take Ōtaki's elite feature yesterday 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 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 Ōtaki 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 2-year-old and there is still plenty ahead of her."
Jamie Richards confirmed the Group 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 Ōtaki.
He also confirmed that a potential trip to Australia later in the autumn was also being considered.
- NZ Racing Desk