Team Te Akau’s young talent scoops Group 1 pool

Top filly Avantage shows her Group One-winning style at Awapuni. Source: Race Images.

Te Akau’s glorious season with their two-year-olds continued at Awapuni where Avantage completed a coveted Group 1 double for the operation.

She bowed to stablemate Sword Of Osman when runner-up in the Sistema Stakes (1200m), but on Saturday the Fastnet Rock filly produced a stunning performance to blitz her rivals in the Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).

The Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards-trained Avantage had also led home a stable quinella in January’s Karaka Million (1200m) when she beat Al Hasa, an earlier runaway winner of the Listed Welcome Stakes (1000m).

“She’s got some value now, bring on the 1000 Guineas in the spring,” Richards said. “She’s a lovely filly and a pleasure to have around the stable.”

Rider Danielle Johnson was able to position Avantage one off the fence in fifth spot before pouncing 250m from home and then dashed away to account for Melt, who chased gamely, and Sir Nate who came from the back of the field for third.

Sword Of Osman went forward from a wide gate to dispute the pace one off the fence and he wilted to fourth under Troy Harris, who replaced an overweight Opie Bosson. “She’s a super filly and she was given a super ride,” Richards said.

“Her work since Ellerslie had been pleasing, she trained on beautifully.

“Troy was caught between a rock and a hard place and the pattern of the day was getting out wide and coming home.”

Avantage has now won five of her six starts and this latest victory should assure her of champion juvenile honours.

“She was very impressive, it’s a huge thrill,” Johnson said.

“From the wide gate I got a nice run with the pace on all the way. “I had a lot of horse underneath me and it was just a case of when to push the button.”