Jamie Richards and Te Akau Racing's dominance of New Zealand 2-year-old racing rolled on with a richly deserved Group 1 triumph for On The Bubbles in yesterday's Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m).
The Awapuni feature was the 21st juvenile win of the season for Richards and the Te Akau team, with seven of those coming at black-type level.
They have now won the Sires' Produce Stakes four times in a row, with On the Bubbles following in the footsteps of Melody Belle, Avantage and Yourdeel.
The syndication juggernaut has also collected five consecutive Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) trophies, along with all of the last four editions of the Sistema Stakes (1200m).
On The Bubbles and jockey Johnathan Parkes went into overdrive at the top of the home straight, opening up a commanding lead and romping home in a spectacular tour de force.
"On The Bubbles just loves being a racehorse," Richards said. "I'm proud of him. He's been to almost every dance this season, and he just keeps improving."
Yesterday's victory was a fitting end to an impressive campaign for On The Bubbles, with Richards now turning his attention to the spring.
"He'll go out for a good break now, and we'll bring him back and set him for the 2000 Guineas [1600m] in November," the premiership-leading trainer said.
Richards was also delighted with the performance of runner-up I Wish I Win, who was making only his second career start. The son of Savabeel won on debut at Awapuni on March 6, along with victories in all his three trials appearances.
"Take nothing away from I Wish I Win, that was a huge effort from a horse having only his second start," Richards said. "I think they're two pretty exciting horses for the future."
Beauden returned to his favourite track for a career-best victory in the Awapuni Gold Cup yesterday.
It was the 11th win of a 36-start career for the Bullbars gelding, who has been near-unbeatable at Awapuni — eight of his victories have come from only 10 appearances at the Palmerston North track, including the last two editions of the Listed Marton Cup (2200m).
Yesterday's win was the best of the lot. Up against a quality field that featured this season's Group 1 winners Callsign Mav and Royal Performer, along with high-class performer Prise de Fer, Beauden dropped back to second-last as Hunta Pence led the field through most of the 2000m journey.
Beauden's regular rider Ryan Elliott brought him to the outside in the straight and let him rip, and the 6-year-old mowed down his dozen rivals and raced clear for a resounding victory.
The chestnut has now earned more than $350,000 in stakes for owner-breeder Joan Egan.
Beauden's victory came as no surprise to co-trainer Graeme Rogerson.
"He's a super horse, and he's an absolute pleasure to train," he said. "He's got a lovely nature, he loves travelling and he eats up so well whenever he goes away. He makes it easy for us. He loves Awapuni; he's just a bloody good horse."
- NZ Racing Desk