Avantage aiming for ninth Group One

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Avantage

While an Australian campaign is enticing for the connections of Avantage, Te Akau principal David Ellis and trainer Jamie Richards have elected to keep the multiple Group One winner in New Zealand for now.

The five-year-old mare has won five of her nine starts this season, all at Group level, and placed in her other four starts, including three times runner-up to stablemate Melody Belle at Group One level, most recently in the Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.

“It was a big effort,” Richards said. “2000m is right at her distance range and she continues to excel at all distances.

“It’s just unfortunate she runs into Melody Belle from time-to-time and is probably three Group Ones short of where she should be.”

The winner of eight Group Ones, Avantage will be shooting for her ninth victory at elite-level when she contests the Group 1 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha on April 10.

“She will have a quiet week this week and then she will be freshened and set for the Te Aroha Breeders’ Stakes,” Richards said.

“We are mindful that she has had a busy year and we are reluctant to send her over to Australia after such a busy time.”

While an Australian autumn campaign has been ruled out, Richards said the Te Akau team are contemplating a trip to Melbourne in the spring with the daughter of Fastnet Rock after tackling the Hawke’s Bay triple crown.

“We will start where we did (Hastings) and maybe look at Melbourne and give her her chance,” Richards said.

“She has done a great job in New Zealand and the way to add some value to her now is to head back to Australia and see if she can be competitive in those better races.”

One Te Akau member that will be heading to Australia in the next week is Entriviere.

The Tavistock mare has won five of her six starts, including a last start triumph in the Group 3 King’s Plate (1200m), and now an Australian campaign has been set for the exciting four-year-old.

“She is pencilled to have a trial 10 days before the Sapphire (Group 2, 1200m),” Richards said. “She could go over towards the end of this week or early next week. She will have a quiet time of it for three or four days. She enjoys her races being spaced and she is on track.”

Meanwhile, Richards was pleased with Savy Yong Blonk’s runner-up performance behind Levante at Ellerslie on Saturday, and she will now head to Awapuni to tackle the Group 2 City Of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) next month.

“She goes to the Awapuni Gold Cup in three weeks’ time and then into the Travis (Group 2, 2000m). They are the three races we had picked out for her in the autumn,” Richards said.

“She goes very well fresh and sprints well fresh and it took a very good one to beat her on Saturday. She is going really well.”

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