Aotea Lad de­buts in bril­liant style at Tren­tham

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE - NZ RAC­ING DESK

AOTEA Lad has the mak­ings of a smart ju­ve­nile and a strong de­but per­for­mance to win the $100,000 Wake­field Chal­lenge Stakes (1100m) at Tren­tham has all but booked his pas­sage to the lu­cra­tive Karaka Mil­lion 2YO (1200m), at Eller­slie on Jan­uary 26.

The Jamie Richards-trained son of Sav­abeel will de­rive plenty of ben­e­fit from the race­day ex­pe­ri­ence af­ter be­ing only moder­ately into stride and show­ing signs of green­ness over the con­clud­ing stages, yet his class meant the re­sult was never in doubt yes­ter­day.

Rid­den by Opie Bos­son, Aotea Lad had half-a-length to spare over Snitzel colt Killin, with Aretha also fin­ish­ing well for third.

‘‘Ear­lier on in the spring, he was very colty and the de­ci­sion was made to geld him, and since then he has turned into a race­horse. He has got it all in front of him,’’ sta­ble rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Richards said.

‘‘It was al­ways the plan to ride him back, like he did at the tri­als, and just get a drag across the junc­tion and try to get over them late.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously he is go­ing to im­prove a lot from to­day.

‘‘He will prob­a­bly go into the Eclipse Stakes (1200m) and then RACE IM­AGES PN into the Karaka Mil­lion.’’ Te Akau Rac­ing have won the past two edi­tions of the Karaka Mil­lion with Avan­tage and Mel- ody Belle, and Aotea Lad adds to the sta­ble’s arse­nal of tal­ented two-year-olds.

By Sav­abeel out of the Gr. 1placed ju­ve­nile Cor­sage, Aotea Lad was bought for $200,000 by Te Akau prin­ci­pal David El­lis at the Karaka Book 1 Sale ear­lier this year.

Bos­son was full of praise for the geld­ing and said he rates right up there with the sta­ble’s lead­ing two-year-olds, who in­cludes last Satur­day’s im­pres­sive win­ner Prob­a­beel.

‘‘He’s only had two tri­als and still doesn’t know what he’s do­ing, so he is a pretty spe­cial lit­tle horse.’’

Aotea Lad shows his class yes­ter­day at Tren­tham.

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