Richards chases further Group 1 glory

Steve Bennett Steve Bennett
  • Jamie Richards is after more Group One success
NZ Trainer - Jamie Richards

 

Successful New Zealand trainer Jamie Richards has already claimed three of the past four Sistema Stakes and is now out to grab another one.

Richards will saddle-up the Savabeel colt Cool Aza Beel who has won three of his five career starts so far including the Listed Karaka Millions (1200m) at Ellerslie.

If the two-year-old can pull it off, it will be back-to-back Sistema wins for Richards who won the race last year with the classy Melody Belle.

Cool Aza Beel is currently the $2.00 favourite for the event just shading the Nigel Tiley-trained Play That Song whom he beat home in the Karaka Millions.

Cool Aza Beel – Photo: Te Akau Racing

He comes into this event after finishing second behind stablemate Need I Say More in the Group Three Waikato Stud Slipper (1200m) where Richards believes the track was against him that day.

“I think the ground at Matamata (a deteriorating Slow7) was probably the main factor in his defeat that day,” Richards said.

“He’d also had a month between runs, and I think the horse that beat him that day is well above average as well.

“But I’ve been very happy with Cool Aza Beel’s work since that race, and I think being back at Ellerslie this weekend on a drier track is going to really suit him.”

Richards also said that the unbeaten Need I Say More will miss the Saturday’s big race and instead focus on the Group One Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) to be run on March 28 at Awapuni.

Meanwhile Richards also has his sights set on victory in the Group One Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) which will run just over an hour after the Sistema Stakes.

Lining up in the $200,000 event will be stablemates Avantage and Prise De Fer who filled the quinella in the Group One Haunui Farm (1600m) at Otaki.

Avantage is currently fighting Supera and Rock On Wood for favouritism with Prise De Fer next in line at $6.50.

Avantage – Photo: Te Akau Racing

Richards is happy with the preparation the Fastnet Rock mare has had as she attempts to emulate Melody Belle’s achievement of winning the race at her first attempt beyond the mile.

“I’ve been very pleased with Avantage since she won at Otaki,” Richards said.

“She’s trained on nicely.

“I guess there is a bit of a question mark over the 2000 metres on Saturday, but we believe she can do it”.

Jockey Opie Bosson has returned from a successful stint in Australia to ride Cool Aza Beel and Avantage in their respective races.

Bosson collected two Group One scalps last weekend when he rode Probabeel and Te Akau Shark to victory at Randwick.