Opie Bosson once again showed why he is such an important player for the Te Akau team with another man of the match performance at Trentham.
The 37-year-old produced an outstanding ride to guide the valuable Fastnet Rock colt Age Of Fire to victory in Saturday’s Group 1 Grant Plumbing Levin Classic (1600m).
After jumping from an inside gate, he was stuck four back on rail but Bosson kept his cool and was able to ease away from the fence into the clear across the top.
His strapping three-year-old partner let down impressively in the straight to account for the fillies Belle Du Nord and Savvy Coup with the longshot Rock On Wood fourth.
“That’s why he’s paid the big retainer,” said Jamie Richards, who trains in partnership with Stephen Autridge. “He’s a lovely, big horse and he pinned his ears back, he was in for the fight.”
The stable’s number one jockey was having his first race day ride on Age Of Fire, but Bosson had been in a confident pre-race mood.
“He is a lovely colt and his work in the last few weeks had been outstanding,” he said. “He’s a big horse, but light on his feet.
“I was a little bit worried across the top when there wasn’t much speed, but once I got into the clear he showed that powerful finish.
“Well done to Stephen and Jamie and the team – another Group One for the tangerine.”
Age Of Fire shares favouritism for the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) at $7 with Demonetization and he is now likely to take on the older horses ahead of the Ellerslie classic.
“My gut feeling is that we’ll go to the Herbie Dyke Stakes to give him another chance at a Group One,” Richards said, referring to the weight-for-age feature at Te Rapa on February 10.
Hallmark Stud will offer a sister (Lot 172) to Age Of Fire at the Book 1 Sale at Karaka on January 28.