On a day where he dominated the first two black-type events on an action-packed programme, it was no surprise that trainer Jamie Richards would continue to make his mark on the feature races later on the card including providing the quinella in the Listed Hallmark Stud Handicap (1200m).
Following wins by Belle En Rouge in the Gr.2 Jamieson Park Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and On The Bubbles in the Listed Shaw’s Wire Ropes Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m), Richards lined up quality mares Festivity and Vamos Bebe in the 1200m dash and they did their mentor proud with a one-two finish.
Sent out the $2.80 favourite, Vamos Bebe and rider Danielle Johnson looked to have the field in trouble when they hit the front with 250m to run, however Opie Bosson (who had been aboard the previous two winners for Richards) had tracked the stablemate everywhere on Festivity and popped out of her slipstream to issue his challenge.
The pair went head-to-head over the concluding stages with Festivity proving strongest in a driving finish to take the race by a head.
“It has been a great day so far,” Richards said.
“She ended up getting in a lovely spot although they didn’t go overly fast.
“She started overdoing it a little but followed Vamos Bebe everywhere she went and had the last laugh.
“She is a good quality mare, who had no luck in the spring. I was disappointed with the way things went so we put her out and gave her a couple of trials as we started again.
“This has been her target for a little while, although I am a little gutted that Vamos Bebe wasn’t able to get a little payback from last season.”
Vamos Bebe had won the race in 2020 but was subsequently disqualified for returning an irregularity in a post-race swab.
Richards will now monitor the recovery rate of Festivity who still holds a nomination for the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s day.
“It was great to see her get some black type today as she is part of a breeding syndicate that Dave (Ellis) put together after he bought her at Karaka,” Richards said.
“We will get her home and take a look at her for a couple of days as she is still in the Railway here on New Year’s day.
“Whether she runs there or not I’m not entirely sure, but there is also the Telegraph (Gr.1, 1200m) and some other black type races that we can have a think about.”
Te Akau boss David Ellis outlaid $410,000 for the daughter of I Am Invincible, purchasing her out of the Windsor Park Stud draft during the Book 1 session at Karka in 2018.
She has now won six of her 12 starts for just over $136,000 in prizemoney.