Kiwi mare Entriviere has rocketed to the head of the market for Australia's newest big race with a stunning win at Kembla Grange yesterday as New Zealand-trained horses continued their brilliant start to spring across the Tasman.
The Jamie Richards-trained mare exploded home from midfield to win the A$200,000 Sheraco Stakes, a Group 2 1200m race for mares moved from Rosehill because of Covid concerns in West Sydney.
She landed some big bets in her first start since April and is now the $4.50 favourite for the A$2 million The Invitation at Randwick on October 23, her main target of the spring and the latest in the string of huge-money races New South Wales has invented to compete with the Victorian spring carnival.
The Invitation was singled out by Richards as the perfect race for Entriviere the day it was announced, and it is so far, so good as she has settled into Sydney and reaffirmed she has the gears to run with the top Aussie sprinting mares.
"She was super and it was exciting to watch, as those big Aussie sprint races tend to be," said Richards, who watched from home at Matamata.
"She is a really top-class mare and I am thrilled for Dad [Paul Richards] because he has sacrificed a lot to be in Sydney for the spring looking after our horses."
Entriviere's win will probably come at a price as she could go up at least 1kg in the weights for The Invitation, a set weights and penalties race, but Richards has crucial confirmation for punters eyeing that market.
"She is definitely heading there, and unless something goes wrong with Probabeel in Melbourne, she definitely won't be heading there," said Richards, who trains the glamour mares.
Bookies Australasia-wide had left Probabeel the favourite for The Invitation until Entriviere's win, even though Richards never intended to take her to Sydney.
"I liked what I saw from the point of view of her going 1400m at Randwick in The Invitation, and the plan is to run her in the Golden Pendant in two weeks and then have a month between races, with a trial into The Invitation," said Richards.
Winning jockey James McDonald needed no reminding of Entriviere's class but loved she was able to relax off the hot speed and charge home, again a recipe for The Invitation.
"She is fast and has a really good will to win," said McDonald. "The one thing I would say with her is any rain over the next month or so will help. She won't mind getting her toe into the ground and she wouldn't want to have too many races on hard tracks."
Entriviere's win continued a great start to the Australian spring for New Zealand-trained horses, with Elephant and Probabeel having won Saturday races in Melbourne in recent weeks before Elephant and The Chosen One placed in the A$500,000 Feehan Stakes last Saturday.
The Kiwi run couldn't continue in Melbourne, though, where Aegon dropped out after a good trip in the $1 million Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington, finishing 11th after challenging in the straight.