Autridge & Richards push 2yo’s Al Hasa & Avantage as Slipper hopes

Te Akau racing 2yo Al Hasa
Te Akau racing 2yo Al Hasa (photo: Race Images)
Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards have two well-credentialled youngsters to lead the stable’s defence of a prized title at Ellerslie next month.

Impressive last-start winner Al Hasa and the undefeated Avantage are on target for the Karaka Million (1200m), a race the Te Akau operation claimed last season with Melody Belle.

“Al Hasa will go to the Eclipse Stakes on New Year’s Day and he’s just got to keep improving, and we believe he will, and then it will be three and a-half weeks into the Million,” Richards said.

The Exceed And Excel colt did well to finish runner-up on debut at Ellerslie after bucking out of the gates and he was on his best behaviour last month at Riccarton where he thumped his rivals by six lengths in the Listed Welcome Stakes (1000m).

It was a performance that made a lasting impression on stable rider Opie Bosson.

“He’s a top class horse, one of the nicest two-year-olds I’ve sat on for quite a while,” he said. “He’s a Karaka Million horse and maybe even the Golden Slipper.”

Te Akau 2yo Avantage
Te Akau Racing 2yo Avantage is a leading Karaka Millions contender

Barn mate Avantage, a daughter of Fastnet Rock, has won both her starts at Riccarton by wide margins.

“She’ll have one more run before the Karaka Million, but we’ve yet to decide when that will be,” Richards said.

Avantage was to have taken on Al Hasa in the Welcome Stakes before a minor issue delayed the clash.

“She had a bit of shin soreness so we elected to back off and she’s jumping out of her skin now,” Richards said. “They are both on target for the Karaka Million.”

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