Avantage (Fastnet Rock) wins the G1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph at Trentham

Six G1 Wins for Avantage

Leading New Zealand owner and bloodstock investor David Ellis was keen to secure the progeny of Fastnet Rock at Magic Millions this week signing for three cracking yearlings by the champion sire, who put him in the G1 winner’s list again at Trentham on Saturday.

Class prevailed when versatile Fastnet Rock mare Avantage (5m Fastnet Rock x Asavant, by Zabeel) was at her very best in taking out the Group I JR & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m) for the second year in succession.

The Jamie Richards-trained five-year-old had scored fresh-up in the Group I Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day to take her Group I winning tally to five and added a sixth as she defended the title she captured in 2020 with another superb performance.

Avantage has won more Group I races than any other stakes-winner for Fastnet Rock.

Leading rider Danielle Johnson was smarting after a narrow defeat on pin-up colt Brando, who finished a neck in arrears of quality filly Bonham in the Group I Levin Classic (1600m) earlier in the day and was determined to redeem herself on Avantage.

A good beginning from an outside barrier saw Avantage placed handily with cover in midfield before being angled into the centre of the track by Johnson to make her final claim.

Unleashed at the 200m she powered past Mascarpone and Tavi Mac to take control of the contest, running out a comfortable two-length winner.

“She’s just a pleasure to ride and words can’t really describe how exciting it is to get on her and win Group Ones,” said Johnson, who has won three Group I races on the mare.

“Everything seemed to work out well as we were three-wide but with cover.

“I knew what I had underneath me, but I wanted her to keep running to the line.

“1200m, 1400m, a mile or 2000m doesn’t matter to her as she just keeps winning and it’s a pleasure to be associated with her.”

Richards echoed those sentiments when questioned after the race.

“She’s a great mare and has done us all proud as that was pretty special,” he said.

“It was a ten out of ten ride as well.

“She will go to Te Rapa in a month now (Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint, 1400m) but she has got time for a quiet week after this.

“She’s done a fantastic job for us and I would like to give her a chance to put a Group One in Australia on the board.

“I think she deserves the opportunity, so we’ll have to sit down and make a plan on how we get there.

“She can be a bit difficult behind the scenes and on raceday, but when we first saw her at the sales, we thought she might just be a two-year-old.

“She’s now justified everybody’s faith in her and has done a wonderful job.

“The best thing about her is her constitution and her willingness to be a racehorse.”

David Ellis of Te Akau Racing bought Avantage for $210,000 out of the Oaks Stud Premier draft at the 2017 Karaka Yearling Sale and she has the super impressive record of 13 wins and seven placings from 23 starts with earnings in excess of $1.7 million.

Avantage is a half-brother to stakes-placed Asathought and is the best of three winners for stakes-winning Zabeel mare Asavant, a daughter of Group III winner Pins ‘n’ Needles and half-sister to Hong Kong based Group I winning sprinter DB Pin.

Asavant is now in the ownership of Sir Owen Glenn’s Go Bloodstock and has a two year-old filly by Fastnet Rock called Mystic Mermaid and produced a colt by him last spring. She was also one of 82 mares covered by Coolmore’s champion sire last spring.

Footnote: David Ellis in conjunction with Andrew Williams Bloodstock purchased three Fastnet Rock yearlings at Magic Millions – a colt from Zoustar’s full sister Ciarlet for $825,000 and fillies from Blue Blue Sky and Joy of Joys for $600,000 each.