Matamata trainer Paul Richards has history on his side as he prepares talented juvenile Farravallo for connections which include respected bloodstock agent Chris Rutten.
Rutten won the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) in 2014 with Vespa and the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) in 2018 with Scott Base, and has also placed in the Karaka Million 2YO with Touche (2013), Yourdeel (2019), Avonallo (2021) and Wolverine (2022).
The Horowhenua horseman sourced all six out of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sales and returned to their Karaka sales complex earlier this year where he purchased Farravallo out of Haunui Farm’s Book 2 draft for $20,000.
The son of Belardo won two trials before finishing runner-up on debut over 1000m at Te Rapa in October, and while he had a hiccup in his preparation earlier this month, Richards believes the gelding is back on track and ready to seal his spot in the Karaka Million with a positive performance in the Pukekohe Traders 1100 at Pukekohe on Boxing Day.
“He missed a trial at Avondale on the 12th just through a slight setback,” Richards said.
“It could have been growing pains or he could have got cast in his box, he was a wee bit sore for a few days, but he seems to have come right now, and I am happy with him.
“He has showed a bit of promise. He is still a work in progress. In his first race, mid-race he undone himself a bit, but he is getting there.
“The Karaka Million is the main aim. If he goes satisfactorily on Boxing Day he probably won’t need another one.
“He is a natural two-year-old, but in saying that, he will furnish into a nice three-year-old. He is a good-bodied horse.”
Farravallo is the first horse Richards has trained for Rutten, however, their association began when the Matamata conditioner was working for his now Hong Kong-based son Jamie at Te Akau, who trained dual Group One winner Yourdeel and Karaka Million 2YO placegetter Avonallo for Rutten.
“This is the only one I have for Chris. The horse came to the stable through that association with Jamie and while I was at Te Akau,” Richards said.
“He has had a bit of luck in the Karaka Million, so hopefully we can continue that with Farravallo.”
Richards has recently returned from visiting Jamie in Hong Kong, familiarising himself with the racing jurisdiction his son now calls home.
“It was great. I had a good look around and learnt how it all works. It was also good to see Jamie’s set-up. He had a few winners up there while I was there, which was super,” Richards said.
“On Sunday he had his first Sha Tin winner, which was great. It just takes time to get a nice team around you. It will take him a year or two before he will be up and firing.”
Richards is hoping some horses in his care can help bolster Jamie’s team in the coming years.
“We have got a couple of two-year-olds that are owned up there that we are pre-training,” he said.
“We will trial them up, get them educated and make sure they are doing everything right before they head up there.”
Meanwhile, Richards has welcomed back stakes winner Hanalei to his barn ahead of her autumn preparation.
The Darci Brahma filly was victorious in the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1100m) at Trentham in January and Richards is now hunting further black-type success with his three-year-old next year.
“She had a break after the spring, she wasn’t doing well so we gave her a month off,” he said.
“She is back in work and won’t be back until probably February. We are just aiming towards the autumn."