Unbeaten filly Avantage gave her rivals a start and a beating in an impressive performance at Ellerslie on Sunday.
The royally bred Fastnet Rock filly was slow away in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1200m) with rider Opie Bosson having no option but to ride for luck as the combination settled last in the seven-horse field. Bosson had a lapful of horse approaching the home bend as he angled between runners before making his challenge at the 300m mark. Avantage quickly responded and raced up to co-favourite Spanish Whisper as the pair set down to fight out the finish.
Despite veering out in the last 100m Avantage held too many guns for Spanish Whisper as she gained the ascendancy to record her third victory from as many starts.
“It was probably a blessing in disguise with her missing the start as she ended up in a lovely spot,” said co-trainer Jamie Richards, who prepares the filly with Stephen Autridge for the powerful Te Akau Racing team.
“She was here for a good educational day out and she will take a lot of improvement out of it.”
Already confidently tipped as a leading prospect for the rich Listed Karaka Million (1200m) that will be run at Ellerslie on 27 January, Richards believes the filly has plenty of improvement in her for the event.
“She had a good look at the winning post, so she will definitely improve with the outing,” he said.
“We might tinker around with a little gear adjustment on that but she’s a lovely filly that David (Ellis) bought at Karaka, who is now three from three.
“It’s very important for our stable to have these horses performing as we lead into this year’s sale.”
Avantage was a $210,000 purchase for David Ellis from the Oaks Stud draft during the Premier session of the 2017 NZB National Yearling Sale. The victory takes her stakes earnings to $41,620 and lifts her into second place on the order of entry for the $1m Karaka Million (1200m).
Stablemate Pinot Grey also moved one place up the qualifying ladder for the Karaka Million with her third placing enough to see her currently sitting 13th on the order of entry with the fourteen highest stakes earners guaranteed a start in the event.