In what most racing fans deemed a match race between Avantage (5m Fastnet Rock x Asavant, by Zabeel) and Levante, it was marvellous mare Avantage who triumphed as she made it seven career Group I wins when taking out a superb victory in the Group I BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa.
The opportunity to see two of the best mares racing in New Zealand at present go head-to-head was thwarted when Levante effectively put paid to her chances when she missed the start by a conservative eight lengths.
That didn’t worry the many Avantage supporters who watched jockey Opie Bosson weave some magic as he put Avantage in a trailing position after 400m despite starting from the extreme outside barrier in the eleven-horse field.
Bosson moved Avantage forward to take the lead at the top of the straight and she powered away to win by three lengths.
Bosson was thrilled the pre-race plan that had been devised for the race had worked out perfectly for Avantage.
“We wanted to ride her aggressively today, put her forward and if Levante was five lengths off us, she would have trouble picking us up,” he said.
“She is just a gutsy racehorse as you can ride her back, ride her forward and it doesn’t matter as she is just a gun.
“She is very similar to Melody Belle and she has now won seven group Ones and there is more in store for her.”
Trainer Jamie Richards, who prepares the mare for the Te Akau Avantage Syndicate, has his eyes on an Australian prize later in this current campaign.
“You never like to see what happened at the start because as racing enthusiasts you want to see it pan out on an even-playing field,” he said.
“Unfortunately, that’s how it goes sometimes and Avantage was able to put herself up in a good position and had them in trouble a long way from home.
“She is getting better now as she can put herself up in a race, which she couldn’t do before.
“She is just getting more professional each time and her big group of owners are having the ride of a lifetime.
“We’ll take a couple of days to think about things but there is the Group I at Otaki at the end of the month (Gr.1, 1600m).
“I really do believe she has a Group One win in Australia in her and I would like to give her that opportunity.”
David Ellis of Te Akau Racing bought Avantage for $210,000 out of the Oaks Stud Premier draft at the 2017 Karaka Yearling Sale and she has the super impressive record of 14 wins and seven placings from 24 starts with earnings in excess of $1.8 million.
Avantage is a half-brother to stakes-placed Asathought and is the best of three winners for stakes-winning Zabeel mare Asavant, a daughter of Group III winner Pins ‘n’ Needles and half-sister to Hong Kong based Group I winning sprinter DB Pin.
Asavant is now in the ownership of Sir Owen Glenn’s Go Bloodstock and has a two year-old filly by Fastnet Rock called Mystic Mermaid and produced a colt by him last spring. She was also one of 82 mares covered by Coolmore’s champion sire last spring.