Avantage wins Group One Telegraph Handicap

By: Saturday 18 January 2020

Australian mare Winter Bride has finished fifth in the Group One Telegraph in New Zealand, with the race won by Avantage from dual winner Enzo's Lad.

The Jamie Richards-trained Te Akau Racing-owned Avantage had to contend with the outside barrier to win the 1200m-race at Trentham in Wellington.

Her win on Saturday avenged stablemate Melody Belle's defeat a year ago.

Richards and the Te Akau team put their faith in the hands of regular rider Opie Bosson and New Zealand's premier jockey did not disappoint.

The trainer told Bosson to be anywhere but last in the early running and the jockey had Avantage better than midfield.

Enzo's Lad loomed on the home turn and established a break with Avantage giving chase.

The mare put her head in front at the 100m and went on to defeat Enzo's Lad by half a length.

"Jamie and the whole team had her spot on for today," Bosson said.

"I had no plan really as Jamie had said just don't be last. I ended up getting quite a nice run with cover, although she wobbled around a bit over the junction.

"It didn't matter though as she always had them covered. She's a little sweetheart."

Richards was delighted with the performance and the way the mare had returned to form after a disappointing Sydney spring campaign.

"She's a proper good horse," Richards said.

"We made a mistake taking her to Sydney in the spring.

"I'm glad that we can repay the owner's faith and get a good Group One with her.

"She's all class and is just a real racehorse.

"She's so strong, built like a colt and is incredibly hard to handle.

"We'll go home now and have a think about what's next but we would like to go back to Australia and try and show her off over there as we have a bit of unfinished business from the spring."

Avantage has now won eight of her 14 career starts and over $1.149 million prize money.

Winter Bride, second in the Group One Railway at Ellerslie, had little luck and finished 4-3/4 lengths from the winner.