Flashy youngster Yourdeel produced a performance that had to be seen to be believed as he stormed home out wide to capture the Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni.
The Jamie Richards-trained two-year-old had entered Saturday’s race as a warm favourite following his gutsy win on a wet track in the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie earlier in the month.
Shooting for a victory that would complete the set of Group One two-year-old events in New Zealand each season, the Dundeel gelding looked a forlorn hope at the top of the Awapuni straight as he spotted pacemaker First Rock a conservative eight lengths.
First Rock was still in front with 150m to run but the challengers were coming out wide with Yourdeel and Aretha leading the charge.
Rider Opie Bosson had Yourdeel in full flight at the 50m as he blazed past his rivals to score by just on a half-length with Aretha snatching second from a gallant Bella Mente who clung to third from Aalaalune.
Richards was still catching his breath as he reflected on the winning run, admitting he was actually watching stablemate Equinox who was contesting the lead for most of the home straight before weakening in the final stages.
“I was actually watching Equinox halfway down,” he said.
“He (Yourdeel) has really stood up and raised the bar this season hasn’t he, he’s quite an incredible horse.
“The way he worked on Tuesday, I didn’t know if we were going to be here or not, but it was a great effort by the team at home and that man on top (Bosson), who is such an important part of our team.”
Richards also reflected on the path Yourdeel had taken over his campaign which started with a victory at Te Rapa back in December.
“He’s taken a fair bit of making,” Richards said.
“He was very colty in the spring then got laid back and started to overdo it.
“He’s done a fantastic job though.”
Bosson also admitted he had some dark thoughts during the running of the race when he found himself near the rear of the field with just 600m to run.
“We just wobbled around the last corner and even across the top I was thinking ‘Jamie is going to kill me’,” he said.
“I’m just so lucky he (Richards) is a champion trainer as he got this horse back on track after his ordinary gallop on Tuesday.
“Once I balanced him up, he changed leg and really charged to the line. I dropped my inside rein, so he did it all on his own.
“He’s a top-quality horse who is going to be exciting at three (years old).”
Trained by Jamie Richards at Matamata, Yourdeel was originally bought as a pin-hooking opportunity by Little Avondale Stud out of Dan Myers’ draft at the 2017 National Weanling Sale. Presented at the 2018 National Yearling Sale at Karaka by Little Avondale, he was knocked down to the $100,000 bid of Chris Rutten who shares in his ownership with John Norwood and Rod Preston. – NZ Racing Desk