Avantage (Fastnet Rock) winning the Gr.1 Otaki Stakes

Third Group I Victory for Fastnet Rock’s Avantage

A Champion 2YO that won the Karaka Million in 2018, quality Fastnet Rock mare Avantage (4m Fastnet Rock x Asavant, by Zabeel) claimed her third success at the elite level when capturing the Group I Haunui Farm WFA Group One Classic (1600m) at Otaki in New Zealand on Saturday.

Sporting the familiar tangerine and blue colours of Te Akau Racing, Avantage and her Jamie Richards trained stablemate Prise de Fer dominated both the betting on the race and the concluding stages of the contest as they set down for a fierce two-way battle that was eventually decided in favour of the mare.

Under a cool ride from Danielle Johnson, last month’s Group I Telegraph (1200m) winner Avantage travelled sweetly before sneaking up along the inner with 500m to run. While a number of the day’s winners had come wide in the home straight Avantage gained a critical length on her stablemate early in the run home through Johnson’s decision and that proved a winning move as she stuck to her guns in the final stages to hold out Prise De Fer by threequarters of a length at the line.

Johnson, who had been aboard Avantage when she took out the Group I Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) as a two-year-old, admitted a conversation with Richards before the race had helped her to make the decision to follow an inside path.

“It’s pretty exciting as it’s my second Group One on her,” Johnson said.

“She’s pretty quirky but the team do a good job with her and she has delivered the goods today.

“I had a chat to Jamie and watching some of the previous races they haven’t been coming too wide so we opted to stay in a little and it’s paid off.

“I was mindful not to go too soon on her as it was a mile today so I had to count to ten which jockeys aren’t too good at.

“I did have a few thoughts go through my head when I saw the tangerine (Prise De Fer) outside me and they weren’t too pleasant, but we still won.”

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 nine wins and four placings from 16 starts with earnings in excess of $1.2 million.

Avantage is the second winner 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 yearling filly by Fastnet Rock and after missing in 2018 to Merchant Navy was covered again by Fastnet Rock last year.