Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards has a big Saturday to look forward to on a marquee day at Flemington where he will produce Amarelinha in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m), Sword Of State in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) and Kahma Lass in the Group 1 Cantala (1600m).
“With those three in Melbourne, we’re under no illusions about the tasks they’ve got in front of them,” Richards said.
“They are great quality races, probably as strong a day’s racing that we’ve had runners at since I’ve been training. That Coolmore is a very, very strong race.”
Amarelinha, who will be ridden by James McDonald, will attempt to give Richards his second win in two years in the AUD$1 million weight-for-age fillies and mares feature after Melody Belle was successful in 2019.
“She’s been luckless. She got shuffled up in her first start and then got caught three deep without any cover with the big weight last time. She’s a good mare; she just needs a bit of luck,” Richards said of this year’s Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) winner.
“The mile, big roomy track – everything lines up nicely for her and we’ve got James on which gave us a good bit of confidence that he wanted to stick with her.
“She’s settled in well at Flemington and did a good bit of work on the course proper there on Tuesday with Kahma Lass. It’s a really good field this year. There’s nowhere to hide with horses like Tofane and Hungry Heart and others adding to the depth of a really good race.”
Sword Of State won a jumpout at Flemington last Friday to boost his prospects for the AUD$1.5 million Coolmore Stud Stakes.
“That gave us the confidence to have a crack. We’ve been behind the eight-ball with him all preparation but in terms of his fitness, we are starting to get somewhere near it now,” Richards said.
“There’s nowhere to hide in that field either. It’s a great field, a big field but he’ll go forward and put himself in the race and be in it for a long way. Whether he’s good enough, we’ll find out on Saturday but we think he deserves his spot.”
Kahma Lass, successful in last year’s Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton, will carry the 52kg minimum weight in the $AUD2 million Cantala despite winning the Listed Weekend Hussler (1200m) at Caulfield earlier this month.
“She’s going to have to run a career-best on Saturday,” Richards said.
“We’ve been aiming her at the Empire Rose or this race and we just felt because she’s not an overly big mare, that right down in the handicaps against the boys, much like she was last time, she gets her opportunity. We’ll just let her find her feet in running and she’ll need a bit of luck in running at some stage.”
Meanwhile, Richards confirmed Probabeel had returned to New Zealand to spell and said Entriviere was set to follow her back home shortly.