Champion two-year-old elect Avantage is making good progress for spring feature racing.
The age-group stars of Te Akau Racing’s big 2017-18 season are making good progress in the early stages of preparations aimed at spring feature racing.
Champion two-year-old elect Avantage, the winner of the Gr. 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes and Karaka Million and beaten only once when second in the Gr. 1 Sistema Stakes, is scheduled to have her first trial in the second half of August before a decision is made whether she does her early racing from Te Akau’s Matamata stable or heads south.
“She had a good long break and is coming along nicely,” said trainer Jamie Richards. “The 1000 Guineas is her first major goal and we’ve still to decide whether she stays in the north for races like the Gold Trail or does her lead-up racing in the South Island.
“The same applies to our other Group One-winning two-year-old Sword Of Osman. He’s on target for the first set of Te Teko trials (August 7) and then all going to plan the three-year-old stakes race at Ruakaka in September.
“Better ground suits him and a race like the Hawke’s Bay Guineas could fit on the path to the 2000 Guineas, but from my experience the lead-up races like the Zacinto Stakes down south are the form pointer to Riccarton.”
Last year’s New Zealand 2000 Guineas winner Embellish and fellow rising four-year-old Age Of Fire, who are both now part-owned by Cambridge Stud owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay, are likely to take separate paths in the spring.
“Age Of Fire is more forward and he’s scheduled to run at the Te Rapa trials next week,” Richards said. “He’s coming along really well and he’ll also trial at Te Teko followed by a race at Ruakaka on September 1.
“If his form warrants it he could be worth taking to Australia. Embellish will be ready to trial in late August and like Age Of Fire, provided we’re happy with him we’d like to take him to Australia.
“Black-type form over there is what you aim for with colts like these.”
Gingernuts, the stable’s fifth Group One-winning member of 2017-18, continues to recuperate at Te Akau Stud from the serious lower foreleg injury he suffered in Melbourne in November.
“He’s enjoying himself in the paddock out at the farm and he’ll be x-rayed again in mid-August,” Richards added. “Once we see the results of those x-rays a decision will be made on his future.”