Sword Of Osman had no trouble making a winning debut at Awapuni in the hands of Michael McNab.
They already have the six-length Welcome Stakes winner Al Hasa and the unbeaten fillies Avantage and Irish Cream, but Te Akau spectacularly unveiled yet another bright two-year-old prospect at Awapuni this afternoon.
Savabeel gelding Sword Of Osman had not trialled leading into his debut in today’s $20,000 NZ Bakels 2YO, but his high regard within the Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards stable saw him sent out as the $1.70 favourite.
Ridden by Michael McNab, Sword Of Osman took the lead early in the 1100-metre event and then changed gears after turning for home. He bounded away from his opposition to win by three lengths with his ears pricked.
Bought by David Ellis for $165,000 as a yearling at Karaka, Sword Of Osman is the latest in a long line of Karaka Million-eligible winners in the Te Akau tangerine. Autridge and Richards won the race last January with the season’s champion juvenile, Melody Belle.
“This is a lovely horse,” Richards said. “He’s another good sort that David bought at Karaka. He didn’t pay a huge amount for him, but these Savabeels are obviously the go at the moment.
“He hadn’t had any trials, because the tracks went from pretty wet to very firm in quite a short space of time and we didn’t want to trial him on those hard tracks.
“But he’d really impressed Opie (Bosson) in his jumpouts at home, which gave us a bit of confidence coming down here for a throw at the stumps today.
“He could be running for $1 million in about a month – we’ll see. He was bought as a staying three-year-old, so everything that’s happening now is a bonus. Everything he’s done today, he’ll improve on again. He had a good look around during the race and has a bit to learn. He’s just a lovely horse, a pleasure to have in the stable and he could be something special.”
McNab recorded the biggest win of his career on Melody Belle in the Gr. 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes at this track in April, and he was delighted to return to Awapuni this afternoon to ride another exciting youngster.
“He’s a machine,” he said. “Opie’s had a wrap on him for about a month now. I galloped him one morning during the week and it was like Melody Belle all over again.
“Already he feels like a three-year-old when you ride him now. He’s only going to get better.
“The stable’s got a few nice two-year-olds bought by David that are heading towards the Karaka Million, so hopefully the boss will put me on one.”
Platinum Mam’selle ran on from second-last to finish second, with Boy Next Door third.
Derecho knuckled over in the last 100 metres of the race and dislodged rider Leah Hemi, who was seen to be sitting up on the track as she was attended to by ambulance staff. She was stood down for the remainder of her rides today, with All In Vogue to be ridden by Masa Tanaka in the Gr. 3 Manawatu Cup.