It was a busy day for Jamie Richards and his Matamata-based team at Te Rapa on Monday, with the Te Akau Racing trainer lining up 48 triallists at the Hamilton track.
“We had quite a few horses at Te Rapa getting ready to kick-off in the new season,” Richards said.
“Some have trialled once before and there were quite a few having their first quiet day back out.”
One of those horses having their second hit-out was exciting galloper Te Akau Shark, who took out his 900m heat effortlessly by half a length.
“He lengthened well and he is coming up nicely, we are pretty pleased with him,” Richards said.
“He and Melody Belle will both more than likely go to the Foxbridge (Gr.2, 1200m), that’s where they will kick-off their campaigns.”
Melody Belle finished fifth in her 900m heat and while Richards did expect a better performance from the multiple Group One winner, he is not concerned heading into her first assignment next month.
“I thought her trial was okay,” he said. “She just got stuck down in the worst of the ground with not really a lot of room.
“I thought she might have trialled just a little better, but I am not concerned. She is a racehorse and she will know it’s business on the 17th (of August) when she gets the blinkers back on.”
Meanwhile, in the first heat of the day, Group One winners Sword of Osman and Avantage, along with Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) winner Probabeel, had their first hit-out in their respective preparations.
Richards was pleased with their efforts and said all three would trial again before making their raceday returns.
“Sword of Osman trialled particularly well. He is a free-going type of horse, he got up on the speed and kept up a gallop (to finish fourth).
“Probabeel and Avantage, they got back off bad barriers and just stayed in behind them and weren’t asked to do too much today. All three of them are coming up nicely.
“They will all trial again at Avondale in a couple of weeks and then we will map out a programme for them. Hopefully Probabeel and Avantage could both be seen in Australia at some stage.” – NZ Racing Desk