Avantage winning the Gr.3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill earlier this year. Photo: bradleyphotos.com.au
Avantage’s disappointing unplaced performance in the Gr.3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick last Saturday has trainer Jamie Richards a little puzzled, however, he is hoping she can bounce back to form at Rosehill on Saturday.
“I was pretty disappointed with her run on Saturday, it’s probably the worst she has ever gone,” Richards said. “I think perhaps I might have been a little bit soft on her.
“She had never finished further back than third up until then. There was very good form around her in autumn, so I was expecting a good run from her and she let us down a little bit.
“She seems to have bounced through it well. I can’t fault her at the stable, but we are in no man’s land a little bit with her.”
The daughter of Fastnet Rock will back-up in the Gr.2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) on Saturday where she has drawn the outside barrier in the field of eight.
“She had a very good blow after the race on Saturday,” Richards said.
“Hopefully we can see her turn her form around. She has drawn an awkward barrier and we’ll probably look to change tack a little bit and ride her off the speed.”
Depending on her performance her next likely target will be the Gr.3 Angst Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on October 12.
“We’ll just get through Saturday first and then make a plan,” Richards said. “I would say from the form that she is in, The Epsom (Gr.1, 1600m) is too rich for her, and there is a mares’ mile the following week if she were to front-up on Saturday.”
Te Akau Shark will tackle the Gr.1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday-week. Photo: Trish Dunell
A stable runner that will start in The Epsom is exciting five-year-old Te Akau Shark.
“I think we will go into the race in good order with a little bit of work on Saturday and Tuesday and hopefully that should have him in tiptop order,” Richards said.
It will be a month between runs for the son of Rip Van Winkle after he finished runner-up in the Gr.2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) and Richards said that spacing is ideal.
“He just feels his runs a little bit. He is a horse best suited with his races spaced and we have stuck to that programme with him,” he said.
“We had him really flying last spring with four and five weeks between runs, he seems to appreciate that.
“We haven’t wanted to change too much around with him and we will back ourselves that we will get him there and have him fit enough. At this stage I am happy with his condition.”