Victories by promising four-year-olds Prise De Fer and Savy Yong Blonk at Ellerslie on Saturday capped a strong week for Matamata trainer Jamie Richards and the Te Akau Racing team. The winning double provided trainer Richards with six wins over the past seven days and moved him to the top of the National Trainer’s Premiership with 44 wins for the season.
Prise De Fer notched a winning hat-trick in the Dunstan Feeds Championship Qualifier (1500m) with Richards in two minds as whether to line him up in the series final at Ellerslie on Boxing Day or wait a further six days to tackle the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) on New Year’s Day. “I think he’s really starting to come of age now and we will leave the door open for the Rich Hill Mile,” Richards said.
“On The Rocks came through this race last year, dropped down to 52 (kilos) New Year’s Day and won, so there are the two options for him. “He was still very immature as a three-year-old, but he’s getting there now. I really like him and he’s a horse with a good future. “He’s another horse that Dave (Ellis) bought from Karaka. Not overly expensive, but we’ve got some good owners in him and, gee, we’re having a run with these Savabeels.” Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis selected Prise De Fer from the Trelawney Stud draft at the 2017 Premier Yearling Sale, outlaying $100,000 for the Savabeel gelding who is the half-brother to multiple Australian stakes winning mare, Belong To Many.
Earlier in the day Savabeel mare Savy Yong Blonk made up for an unlucky run at her previous start when she burst away from her opposition in the home straight to take out a rating 72 2100m contest. Stakes placed in the Group 3 Sunline Vase (2100m) last season, Savy Yong Blonk had finished fourth at Tauranga last month after receiving no favours in the run home.
Rider Troy Harris took luck out of the equation as he pushed the mare to the lead and outstayed her rivals over the concluding stages to win comfortably. The victory qualified Savy Yong Blonk for the final of the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship (2400m) on New Year’s Day although Richards is also toying with a start in the Group 2 SKYCITY City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) on the same day.
“It was plain for all to see last time how unlucky she was at Tauranga, and she should have won,” Richards said. “This mare, she’s above average, brought good form as a three-year-old, and I certainly think she’s going the right way. “Our plan is to have her back at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day. Which race is still to be worked out but going in with winning form will be ideal and I thought Troy gave her a perfect ten out of ten ride.”