Trainer Jamie Richards was taking a philosophical approach to his day at Royal Randwick on Saturday after watching three of his stable stars perform with credit but fail to put a win on the board.
Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) winner Amarelinha got the ball rolling with a brave effort to finish fourth in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) before the Brendan and Jo Lindsay-owned Probabeel went within inches of adding a fourth Group One victory to her career record when gunned down by Nettoyer in the final few strides of the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m).
Richards rounded out his day with exciting prospect Entriviere, who showed she is an Australian stakes winner in waiting, when powering home late off a wide run to finish second in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m).
Richards, who will fly back to New Zealand on Monday, was delighted to pick up four wins at home including the Group 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa with Avantage but was disappointed not to add to that tally in Sydney.
“Obviously, we had a great day back home, but I was just so keen to try and get a win over here,” he said.
“We tried our best but just couldn’t quite get it done.
“They all put in good runs, but we didn’t quite have that slice of luck you need at times to get over the line.
“I think the barrier (14) is what beat Entriviere as she was planted out four wide with no cover throughout and didn’t get the rub of the green.
“What was particularly pleasing though was how she just kept on coming in the home straight. She looked like she might run a tidy third or fourth halfway down, but she wouldn’t give in, pinned her ears back and had a crack to just miss.
“I’m very proud of how far she has come in this campaign, so she can have a break now and get ready for next year.
“It will be very interesting to see how far she can go next time in, as she is still quite raw.
“She will be on a plane home next Sunday and can have a good spell.”
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy admitted to Richards he may have gone a little early on Probabeel, although Richards also believed the shifty nature of the Randwick surface played its part in her defeat.
“She is a mare that needs good ground to show her best and I’m not sure if that track was as firm as it could have been,” he said.
“A number of the winners on the day are more suited to give in the ground and I think that factor told on our mare at the finish.
“She’s heading home on the same plane as Entriviere and while she’s having a break we can discuss with Brendan and Jo what we set her for next.
“I know they are really keen to have another go at the Cox Plate (Group 1, 2040m), so we will make a plan for her with that race in the back of our minds.”
Richards was also pleased with three-year-old Amarelinha who couldn’t quite kick on at the business end of the Australian Oaks.
“She (Amarelinha) might just have been showing the effects of a long campaign,” he said.
“In saying that, it was a funny run race as they went three-quarter pace down the back and then quickened up the straight.
“We were in the right position on the corner, but she was just a little soft in the last 200m which may have been the long prep she has had.
“We’ll put her aside as well, as she has a lot of maturing to do yet.
“What we target with her is still up for discussion and will really depend on how she spells.”
Richards paid tribute to class mare Avantage, who clocked up Group One win number nine at Te Rapa on Saturday.
“It was great to watch the team perform and I thought Avantage was superb and ridden very well by Danielle (Johnson),” he said.
“She was up and on the speed and just refused to lie down.
“She likes the track a little better than it was there yesterday and is just a wonderful mare.”