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Avantage gives Ellis another Karaka Million winner

Les Young | 31.01.2018

New Zealand syndicator David Ellis (Te Akau Racing) has for some years been the mainstay, top-end buyer at New Zealand Bloodstock’s annual yearling sales at Karaka.

His loyalty and good judgement has been well rewarded by the success of his selections and he enjoyed another triumph last Saturday when unbeaten filly Avantage (Fastnet Rock) defeated stablemate Al Hasa (Exceed and Excel) in the NZ$1,000,000 Karaka Million 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m) at Ellerslie.

Earlier in the afternoon another Te Akau Racing buy, Embellish (Savabeel), winner of the 2017 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m), had finished second in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (RL, 1600m), adding to the achievements of Ellis yearling selections as potential stallions, a distinguished group which includes such horses as Darci Brahma (Danehill), Burgundy (Redoute’s Choice), Rock ‘N’ Pop (Fastnet Rock) and Xtravagant (Pentire) who made his stud debut last season at Newhaven Park in NSW.

Last Saturday Avantage powered home to score by three-quarters of a length from Al Hasa with Bocce (Foxwedge) close up in third place to give Te Akau runners a second straight

success in this valuable event.

David Ellis paid NZ$210,000 for Avantage at last year’s New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale and she has already won NZ$592,120.

Avantage was bred in Australia by Mr W. Calder who bred and raced her dam and sold on his behalf by The Oaks Stud. Her female background is New Zealand through and through but has had a little help from Australian bred sires Pins (Snippets) and Centaine (Century).

Asavant (Zabeel), the dam of Avantage, won the CJC Warstep Stakes (Listed, 2000m) and placed at Group One level while her dam Pins ‘N’ Needles (Pins) was similarly talented, a Group Three and Listed winner and a multiple stakes placegetter, notably when runner up in the WRC Thorndon Mile (Gr 1, 1600m).

Avantage’s third dam Raining (Centaine) won seven races and was stakes placed before producing seven winners, three of them black type winners, while her winning daughter Zenda (Zabeel) became dam of King Saul (Flying Pegasus), winner of the Western Australian Guineas (Gr 2, 1600m) and two other Listed races.

This is the best branch of an otherwise relatively undistinguished though long established New Zealand family.

Avantage may never rank high among the best progeny of her champion sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill) but she goes down as his 127th stakes winner and continues a great run being enjoyed by the now 16-year-old Coolmore stallion who had an especially successful day last Saturday.

Fastnet Rock’s two-year-old son Long Leaf had earlier captured the Blue Diamond Preview (C&G) (Listed, 1000m) at Caulfield, where he also had a second winner in Cao Cao. At Rosehill, the promising Siege of Quebec continued on his winning way and the Australian champion sire of 2001/12 and 2014/15 also had winners at the Gold Coast and at Kembla Grange.

Of stallions standing in Europe, Ireland shuttler Fastnet Rock in 2017 was third to Galileo (Sadler’s Wells) and Dubawi (Dubai Millennium) on worldwide earnings and he is fast emerging as a broodmare sire of significance.

Last Saturday’s Blue Diamond Preview (Fillies) (Gr 3, 1000m) winner Lady Horseowner (Equiano) is Fastnet Rock’s 12th stakes type winner as a maternal grandsire, a list headed by Group One winners Tivaci (High Chaparral) and Santa Ana Lane (Lope de Vega).

Breeders should note that Fastnet Rock mares have bred two stakes winners by each of three sires, deceased High Chaparral (Sadler’s Wells), Domesday (Red Ransom) and Star Witness (Starcraft) so these patterns may be worth repeating.

As well as the almost obligatory duplications of Northern Dancer (Nearctic) in her pedigree, Avantage carries a 4 x 3 double of Sir Tristram (Sir Ivor) through his sons Marauding and Zabeel and is distantly linebred to the great speed influence Star Kingdom (Stardust).

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