GUINEAS BUILD-UP CONTINUES FOR AVANTAGE

Last season’s champion two-year-old Avantage is likely to step out over 1400m at Matamata on Saturday as she continues her build-up towards the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November.

The daughter of Fastnet Rock returned to the racetrack in style last month when winning the Gr.3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders’ Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) with trainer Jamie Richards aiming to have the Group One winner at her peak for the Guineas.

“She’ll have two more races before Riccarton,” Te Akau principal David Ellis said.

“If Jamie is happy with her she will run at Matamata on Saturday and then she will run in the Soliloquy Stakes (Gr.3, 1400m) so that the Guineas will be her fourth run this time in.”

A $210,000 purchase by Ellis from The Oaks Stud draft from the premier session of the 2017 National Yearling Sale at Karaka, Avantage has a near perfect CV.

The winner of six of her seven starts, Avantage won the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at two and has won in excess of $800,000 in prizemoney to date.

Meanwhile, Ellis reports that Sword Of Osman remains on track for the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) despite fading to fifth in last weekend’s Gr.2 Sacred Falls Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m).

“He will improve a lot with the run,” Ellis said. “He missed the jump slightly and Opie (Bosson) dug him up because the plan was to lead, but he just raced a bit strong. It was only his second run this prep and he had a bit of a puff and I think there is improvement.”

The Group One winning two-year-old will race over 1400m before a tilt at the 2000 Guineas.