Volpe Veloce makes it look so easy as Johnathan Parkes brings her home at Te Rapa today.
A month out from the first Group One race of the new season, Volpe Veloce sent a challenge to defending champion Kawi as she made a cakewalk of her return to competition at Te Rapa today.
The Foxwedge mare was returning to the scene of her career-first defeat in the Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic in February and jumped as the $1.40 favourite in the Distinction Hamilton Hotel 1200.
From the outside gate in the seven-horse field, she was sent forward by regular rider Johnathan Parkes and shadowed the pacemaker One Cool Message. She was still under a hold as the field swung for home and Parkes had no option but to let the big bay stride to the lead.
Under minimal pressure Volpe Veloce maintained her lead and at no stage looked threatened, with Il Cavallo closest at the line with a brave finishing effort after a wide trip and topweight Close Up next.
But the reality was there was only one horse in the race and the winner of eight of her nine starts will now have a month for trainers Graham Richardson and Gavin Parkes to add the finishing touches for the Gr. 1 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings.
TAB odds-setters reacted immediately by slicing Volpe Veloce’s odds for the September 2 feature from $7 to $5. Kawi remains at $4 and he will get the chance to cement those claims when his spring campaign gets serious in the Gr. 2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa in two weeks’ time.
Senior co-trainer Graham Richardson opted for today’s lesser race on the basis that it would provide a more suitable timeframe than waiting for the Foxbridge Plate. That reasoning certainly looked logical given the ease of the win and the non-taxing Slow7 track that led to a 1200-metre time of 1:12.48.
“I’m not saying the Foxbridge Plate is in the wrong place,” Richardson said. “It’s just that it suited our mare to kick off now and have that month gap to the Tarzino.
“Seeing her win like that, to do it so easily, was all we could wish for. I’ve been happy with her all the way through and now I know she’s on target for Hastings.”
Parkes, who put up half a kilogram than book weight of 54kg, was not surprisingly on the same page as Richardson. “We wanted to take bad luck out of it,” he said. “She gave me a super feeling coming round the turn. She’s back big-time and I’m really looking forward to getting to the Bay.”