Sword Of Osman (Opie Bosson) leads home her stabletae Avantage in the Sistema Stakes.
Te Akau two-year-old power was again seen at its best with a Gr. 1 Sistema Stakes quinella at Ellerslie today.
After a Karaka Million one-two on the same track in late January, the Stephen Autridge-Jamie Richards training combination saddled up three runners in today’s $200,000 race and again ruled supreme as Sword Of Osman led virtually throughout to beat his stablemate, Karaka Million winner Avantage, by a length and a quarter.
Third place went to last-start Matamata Breeders’ Stakes winner Spanish Whisper ahead of Karaka Million placegetter Bocce and Te Akau’s third runner The Real Beel. The biggest disappointment was previously unbeaten filly Melt, who vied for favouritism with Avantage but was never in the race after making a slow start.
Savabeel gelding Sword Of Osman went into the race off the back of a runaway win in the Reid & Harrison Slipper on his home track. He had also been a winner on debut in December but never got into the act when finishing midfield in the Karaka Million.
Any doubts about his return to the right-handed Ellerslie track were dismissed by those closest to him and from the time Opie Bosson put Sword Of Osman on the speed from the inside draw at the 1200-metre starting point he had the race at his mercy.
“It only looked like he mightn’t have copped it that way round,” said Stephen Autridge. “It was more that he hadn’t raced in a field before, but he did his learning that day and after his win at Matamata he was ready to do the job today.”
Stable jockey Bosson was perhaps the biggest winner today after originally intending to ride Avantage but having to abandon that plan at the beginning of the week when he realised he could not make the filly’s 54.5 kilogram weight.
With colts and geldings required to carry two kilos more, it was a sensible call for Bosson to make and with the polish that has become his trademark he was again supreme in the tangerine and blue colours.
“From the gate I was able to get some easy sectionals,” he said. “At least it felt like they were easy, he’s such a big long strider.
“I realised I was no chance to make the filly’s weight, and now it’s worked out so well for me.”
Some important decisions must now be made about the stable’s two star juveniles, who both hold nominations for the A$3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes in Sydney in fortnight’s time.
“I’m not so sure about the Slipper,” said Te Akau boss David Ellis. “We’ll have to sit down and talk about that, but I’m inclined to think the filly can go for a spell now – she’s had a big season – and Sword Of Osman will more than likely go to Sydney for the Sires’ Produce Stakes.
“That’s 1400 metres and would suit him better than the Slipper, and he might even run in the Champagne Stakes over 1600 metres after that.
“For now, though, it’s great to be able to celebrate another Group One quinella,” Ellis added. “After doing the same in the 2000 Guineas (Embellish and Age Of Fire) it’s quite something for the whole team to do it again in the same season.”