Richards hoping to add to Million line-up

Time Flies
Time Flies (outside) will be looking to book a Karaka Million berth on Sunday. Photo: Trish Dunell

Jamie Richards’ attack on the Karaka Million 2YO (Listed, 1200m) currently rests with a quartet of youngsters, but the chances of a fifth member of the stable chasing the NZD $1 million pot of gold is looking highly likely.

Te Akau Racing’s head trainer has Grace ‘N’ Grey, Lord Cosmos, Fellini and Dynastic all guaranteed of starts in the DoubleTree by Hilton-sponsored feature at Ellerslie on January 22.

Tavirama had also nailed down a spot following her debut second in the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m), but the Tavistock filly has been ruled out of contention.

“She has gone shin sore and will have a spell. She’s a ripper and we don’t want to break her so we will take our time,” Richards said.

“She is very good and has got black type already and it will be all ahead of her as a three-year-old.”

While that Karaka Million door has been closed, another may well open at Ellerslie on Sunday when Time Flies runs in the Premier Horse Transport 2YO (1200m) and a placing likely to be enough for the son of Time Test to join the challenge.

“I hope we will have five in the Million. Time Flies is going really well and is going to be a pretty good chance up there on Sunday,” Richards said.

His form reads particularly well, given he was runner-up at the first time of asking at Pukekohe behind Pacific Dragon, who was first passed the post in the Group 2 Eclipse Stakes (1200m) only to be relegated to second behind pre-post Karaka Million 2YO favourite Wolverine.

Opie Bosson will guide Time Flies’ fortunes from the inside gate while apprentice Joe Kamaruddin will partner Fellini, a last-start Pukekohe winner.

“Fellini will get up there and have a look around and we like to use this race, it’s sets them up nicely,” Richards said.

“He is going well and is a good sort of horse. He’s certainly not the best one, but he is honest and straight-forward and just gets on with the job.”

Richards was reluctant at this stage to nominate the stable’s top seed for the Karaka Million.

“It’s hard to say really, we’ve got a nice team and feel like they are coming right at the right time. They were a bit slow off the mark and they are getting there now.

“I hope we will have five and Dynastic and Grace ‘N’ Grey are both going well and Lord Cosmos will go up to Ellerslie for a gallop, probably on the Monday before. I think we are shaping up okay.

“We will have nothing to race at Tauranga so there will be no latecomers to add in.”

There will also be considerable interest in the reappearance on Sunday in the Brookby Stables 3YO (1500m) of The Perfect Pink.

“She’s going well, but she’s not screwed down. She had an exhibition gallop at Tauranga the other day so she’s going the right way,” Richards said.

“She’s a naturally fit and athletic filly that can run well off a let-up, but ultimately she is getting ready to get out in trip.”

The Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand Oaks (2400m) is the target for the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) heroine.

“After Sunday, her next run will be in the boss’ race,” Richards said, referring to the Group 2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 12.

The Perfect Pink will be opposed on Sunday by stablemate Pin Me Up, who was runner-up in her first two appearances before breaking through in style at Te Rapa before Christmas.

“She is a nice filly with a bright future. She won her maiden well and she’s not a big, robust sort of thing,” Richards said.

“We were looking at backing her up on Boxing Day in the Eight Carat (Group 2, 1600m), but we just thought it was going to come around a bit too quickly.

“We gave her a bit of time and the owners allowed me to take her along quietly. We’re hoping she runs well at Ellerslie and then presses on toward the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (Listed, 1600m).”

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