Te Akau hoping filly has a sprinting advantage

4 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Last season’s champion New Zealand 2-year-old Avantage (Fastnet Rock) has headed to Australia to take them on at what they do best.

Te Akau appreciates the enormity of the task ahead of the filly, but she is a specialist short course performer and was sent to Sydney on Monday afternoon to see how she measures up.

“We all know how difficult it is to go over there and compete against the Australian horses over the shorter distances, but that is what she is and we’ll have a go,” trainer Jamie Richards said.

Avantage has headed to Australia

“She will either run in the Birthday Card S. on Saturday or the Darby Munro, we’ll make a call on that a little later in the week.”

“There’s the Arrowfield Sprint, but she would need to win on Saturday to progress toward a race like that.” - Jamie Richards.

The G3 Birthday Card S. is worth $160,000 and the Listed Darby Munro S. will be run for $140,000 with both races at Rosehill over 1200 metres.

The future direction of Avantage’s autumn campaign will be determined by her performance at the weekend.

“There’s the Arrowfield Sprint, but she would need to win on Saturday to progress toward a race like that,” Richards said.

She will be ridden by stable jockey Opie Bosson, who will also take the mount aboard the Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley-trained Danzdanzdance (NZ) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) in the G1 Ranvet S.

Avantage will be ridden by stable jockey Opie Bosson

Group 1 success

Avantage won the G1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce S. and the Karaka Million last season and the G3 Gold Trail S. when resuming this term. She was then side-lined by a muscle issue and has returned for two trials, winning the latest of them this month over 1000 metres at Avondale.

She was bred by Willie and Karen Calder and sold by them through The Oaks Stud draft for NZ$210,000 to Te Akau at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale at Karaka.

She is a daughter of Asavant (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}), who won three races from John and Karen Parsons’ stable, including the Listed Warstep S. and she finished third in the G1 Waikato International S.

Willie & Karen Calder with Avantage's 3/4 sister Puysegur

Sibling pins Cup

Asavant is a half-sister to the G1 Centenary Cup Sprint winner D B Pin (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}), who was a NZ$200,000 yearling. Their dam Pins ‘N’ Needles (NZ) was also prepared by the Parsons to win six times, including the G3 White Robe Lodge H.

The Calders made a commercial decision in 2017 to sell Asavant and they tragically lost Pins ‘N’ Needles a short time later.

That prompted the Southland couple to go to NZ$550,000 at Karaka last year to buy out a foal share agreement in Avantage’s three-quarter sister Puysegur. Trained by Richards, she hasn’t been seen out since she won on debut at Riccarton.

Meanwhile, the G1 Sires’ Produce S. has been confirmed as the target for talented stablemate Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel), who finished in behind the major players in Saturday’s G3 Magic Night S. in her Australian debut at Rosehill.

“You don’t go there to run sixth, but all things considered it was still a good run,” Richards said. “It’s three weeks to the Sires’ and that’s ideal.”

“You don’t go there to run sixth, but all things considered it was still a good run.” – Jamie Richards.


Probabeel’s domestic form has been outstanding with three wins from four appearances and bolted away with the Karaka Million.

The filly was bred and offered at Karaka by breeders Waikato Stud and the Lindsay’s initially lost a bidding duel with David Ellis, who had the final say at NZ$380,000, but later reached agreement with the Te Akau principal to secure her.

Probabeel is the first live foal produced by the multiple winner and Group performer Far Fetched (NZ) (Pins). She is a three-quarter sister to the Group winners Legless Veuve (NZ) (Pins) and Tootsie (NZ).