Top Te Akau Racing juveniles Sword Of Osman and Avantage will renew their Group One rivalry at Awapuni later this month, reports NZ Racing Desk. The talented stable-mates are confirmed starters for the $225,000 Group 1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) on 31 March. The Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards-trained pair have met twice with Avantage taking top honours when winning the Karaka Million (1200m) before Sword Of Osman (Savabeel) evened the score with his defeat of the Fastnet Rock filly in last Saturday's Gr1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie. Te Akau principal David Ellis said: "We think he's [Sword Of Osman] probably six months away in his development so we will give him one more run before he goes to the paddock. When he returns we'll be getting him ready for the Hawke's Bay Guineas and the 2000 Guineas at Christchurch." Ellis added: "Avantage has come through the race really well and if we're still happy with her in the next few days she will go to the Sires' Produce as well. We want to give her the opportunity to get a Group One win."
At Ellerslie in Auckland in the first of three Gr1 features (all taken out by NZB graduates) Waikato Stud's Cox Plate winning multiple champion stallion Savabeel (Zabeel-Savannah Success, by Success Express) celebrated a Gr1 triumph when 2YO gelding Sword Of Osman (Savabeel-Bunyah, by Distant View) scored by 1.3-lengths for trainers Steven Autridge & Jamie Richards in the $200,000 Gr1 Sistema Diamond Stakes (1200m) for 2YOs, defeating stablemate 2YO filly Avantage & 2YO filly Spanish Whisper. Purchased for $165,000 by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis at the 2017 NZ Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale from the Trelawney Stud draft, Sword Of Osman was ridden by Opie Bosson who speared him straght to the lead before holding off the rapidly closing Advantage. "The whole race he relaxed beautifully in front," Bosson enthused. "He changed legs a few times, but he just kept running. He's very, very good. He's amazing. He's like a three-year-old now. I can't wait for his three-year-old career." He improved his record to 3 wins (including last start's Gr3 Slipper Stakes at Matamata) from 4 starts for $188,250 in earnings. The result has catapulted Savabeel to more than double the earnings of his nearest competitor on the New Zealand General Sires table, almost guaranteeing him a third consecutive stallion title.
Boom Kiwi filly Avantage won't race again until next month's the Gr1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Australian-bred daughter of Fastnet Rock showed why she is considered the best juvenile in New Zealand when extending her unbeaten record to 4 wins from 4 starts in the $1 million Listed Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie last month. "We're pleased with the way she came through that run and she'll be going straight to the Sistema Stakes on March 10," said Jamie Richards, who trains the Te Akau Racing-owned filly in partnership with Stephen Autridge.
At Ellerslie in New Zealand, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a restricted black-type success when high-class 2YO Australian-bred filly Avantage (Fastnet Rock-Asavant, by Zabeel) showed why she is considered the best juvenile in New Zealand when scoring a dominant win in the $1 million Listed Karaka Million 2YO (1200m), defeating stable-mate Al Hasa & Bocce. From the stakes winning Zabeel mare Asavant, Avantage was a $210,000 purchase by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis at the 2017 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of The Oaks Stud. Her Karaka Million win extended her unbeaten record to 4 wins from 4 starts for NZ$592,120 in earnings. Ellis was thrilled with the win. "Opie [jockey Opie Bosson] told me early on she was a high-class filly. She trialled at Te Teko back in August and has just shown us so much all the way through," Ellis told NZ Racing Desk. "She is owned by a terrific bunch of people who are just over the moon. It's a life-changing experience for them."
At Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong, The Oaks Stud's 5-time Gr1-winning & 5-time Gr1-placed stallion Darci Brahma (Danehill-Grand Echezeaux, by Zabeel) celebrated an elite race success when 5YO Australian-bred gelding DB Pin (Darci Brahma-Pins 'n' Needles, by Pins) unleashed a withering late burst to land the biggest prize of his career in the HK$10 million Gr1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m), defeating Mr Stunning & Beat The Clock. Purchased for $200,000 by esteemed bloodstock agent John Foote at the 2014 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of The Oaks Stud, DB Pin improved his record to 6 wins and 7 placings (including the Gr1 Hong Kong Sprint) from 14 starts for HK$16,603,700 in earnings. He is a half-brother to the dam of last Saturday's Karaka Million winner Avantage.
Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards have two well-credentialed youngsters to lead the stable's defence of a prized title at Ellerslie next month, reports NZ Racing Desk. Impressive last-start winner Al Hasa Al Hasa (Exceed And Excel-Oasis Rose, by Oasis Dream) and the unbeaten Avantage (Fastnet Rock-Asavant, by Zabeel) are on target for the Karaka Million (1200m), a race the Te Akau operation won last season with champion 2YO Melody Belle. "Al Hasa will go to the Eclipse Stakes on New Year's Day and he's just got to keep improving, and we believe he will, and then it will be three and a-half weeks into the Million," Richards said of the well-bred colt who was a brilliant 6 length winner of the Listed Welcome Stakes (1000m) at Riccarton at his most recent outing. Meanwhile, stable-mate Avantage has shown plenty of promise winning both her starts at Riccarton by wide margins. "She'll have one more run before the Karaka Million, but we've yet to decide when that will be," Richards said.
Meanwhile, the race to the richest meeting on the New Zealand calendar has begun with a number of talented youngsters vying for a start. 2018 is set to showcase the enhanced Series with the $1 million Karaka Million 3YO Classic a new addition to the $1 million Karaka Million 2YO. The feature events will include a sensational support card of four Group races to be run at the Auckland Racing Club.
One of the wildcard entries for this year's Arc Sale at Arqana (held on Saturday prior to Lonchamp's Arc meeting) has topped the session when selling for €700,000 to the bid of agent Hubie De Burgh. Undefeated 2YO colt Mutin (Kentucky Dynamite-Mytographie, by Anabaa) was purchased for an unnamed client, with De Burgh saying that it was for an established owner. Also active at the top end was Asian Bloodstock who paid €380,000 for Avantage & €320,000 for Cay Verde, both purchased on behalf of Hong Kong owner Howard Liang. Overall, including private sales, the sale's aggregate was €4,435,500 at an average of €150,808.
Deceased former Widden Stud shuttler Anabaa (Danzig-Balbonella, by Gay Mecene) added a black-type success at Deauville in France when juvenile Style Vendome (Anabaa–Place Vendome, by Dr Fong) scored by 0.75-length for trainer N.Clement over One Word More (Thousand Words-Somoushe, by Black Minnaloushe) & Avantage (Layman–Territorial, by Selkirk) in the Listed Prix Francois Boutin (1400m) for 2YO colts. Style Vendome took his record to 2 wins and a placing from 3 starts for €48,500 earnings. It was his first victory at stakes level and he is the 82nd stakes winner for his sire Anabaa.