Trainer Jamie Richards won the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) last year with Probabeel and he is hoping he has a filly who can repeat the dose on Saturday. Amarelinha heads into the rich three-year-old feature as a +110 favourite with TAB bookmakers, ahead of the undefeated Group 1-winning colt Aegon at +160.
The daughter of Savabeel has had just the three starts and Richards has been pleased with her progress, which culminated with a last start victory in the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day. “She is big, strong, and powerful. I think she is bound for the top draw,” Richards said.
“We took her to Awapuni first-up and ran her in a maiden and thought she would be really hard to beat. Unfortunately, she ran second, and that’s the only time she has been beaten. “I think she needed that experience. Often you find that horses who win their trials so easily, when they come to raceday and come under a bit of pressure, they are not really sure what to do.
“I think Awapuni was a big learning curve for her. “Since then she has won nicely at Ellerslie and went back to Ellerslie and won the Eight Carat in good fashion. “We have given her a little bit of time between runs, and a quiet trial at Matamata.”
In that trial she beat home stablemate and New Zealand’s Queen of the Turf, Melody Belle. “She hasn’t missed a beat,” Richards said. “Everybody is talking about the trial where she strode up alongside Melody Belle, which I think will stand her in good stead for Saturday night.”
Richards is looking forward to Saturday, where he is hoping the slated match-race between the two favoured runners eventuates. “It’s going to be another good contest for her,” he said. “She is going to meet Aegon, who she hasn’t raced before, and he looks the one to beat.
“There are a lot of other good horses in there and we have got a couple in there – Supreme Khan and Perfect Scenario – they are no walk in the park either. “But it does look to be a race for those two to fight out the finish. “She has got all the right attributes. She is a very exciting filly and we are looking forward to Saturday night.”
Amarelinha was purchased out of Waikato Stud’s 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $300,000.