By Phillip Quay
Last season’s champion two-year-old Avantage, pictured, returned to the racetrack in brilliant style when she scored a hard-fought win in the Gr. 3 Hawke’s Bay Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings today.
In a close tussle over the finishing stages Avantage edged out Xpression to notch up her sixth win from seven outings.
“She has a heart the size of a lion,” said winning jockey Danielle Johnson.
“And she has a ton of improvement in her yet,” Johnson said.
“She is a very serious racehorse,” she said.
Winning trainer Jamie Richards said Avantage had to be on her game to withstand the challenge of Xpression who was game in defeat.
“She showed today why she was the best two-year-old in the country last season,” Richards said. “We didn’t have her wound up today because she has some big assignments ahead of her.”
“I felt all week that Xpression would be very hard to beat and that is how it proved,” said Richards.