It was a fitting result in the Congratulations Hong Kong Bound Jamie Richards Maiden (1400m) at Matamata on Thursday, with Richards taking out the quinella.
Felicienne finally broke through for her maiden win at the ninth time of asking, after previously finishing runner-up in for of her eight starts, and finished third in another.
Despite drawing outside in the 12-horse field, Felicienne was rated a top three chance and duly obliged under a confident ride by Opie Bosson.
Last passing the 800m, tracking an improving stablemate Soprano Supreme, she swept to lead early in the straight and proceeded to romp clear to win by 3-1/4 lengths over Soprano Supreme, with a further 3-1/2 lengths back to Amaterasu in third.
“She won easily,” Bosson said. “She cruised around them and put them away pretty quickly.”
Richards, who has accepted an invitation by the Hong Kong Jockey Club to join their training ranks next year, was delighted with the result.
“Felicienne was good today, even from the outside barrier she was able to get back with cover and really found the line,” he said.
“Opie let her loose on the point of the home turn and she quickened up really well.
“She’d been building towards it, has taken a couple of runs getting to full fitness, but winning like that should give her a good deal of confidence to get through the grades.
“Soprano Supreme ran really well, too, after doing a bit of work and effectively leading Felicienne into the race. She didn’t quite have the same turn of foot, but she was strong through the line and up to a mile in three weeks should suit her.”
Te Akau principal David Ellis purchased Felicienne out of Windsor Park Stud’s 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $190,000. He went to $62,500 at the same sale to purchase runner-up Soprano Supreme out of Te Runga Stud’s draft.
Two races later Richards was back in the winner’s stall welcoming back Wairau Cove after the Matamata Veterinary Services 1200.
The year younger brother to stablemate and Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Kahma Lass, Wairau Cove is from broodmare sensation Distinctive Lass, having left four stakes winners and seven of seven winning progeny.
Wairau Cove was dominant when winning on Thursday, running away to a five length victory, carrying the colours of breeder-owner Greg Tomlinson’s Nearco Stud.
“It’s such a big thrill to train another winner for Greg Tomlinson,” Te Akau’s David Ellis said.
“He’s easily one of the best breeders in New Zealand, and Breeder of the Year. He’s a champion bloke and it looks like he’s got an exciting horse.
“I love seeing the Darci Brahmas win and certainly been a few terrific horses by him in this family.”
Richards was pleased to see the way in which his charge won on his home track after finishing fourth at New Plymouth when on debut earlier this month.
“He’s a horse we’ve had a lot of time for and it was a really good win,” Richards said. “He’s just needed time to strengthen and overcome a couple of niggling little things.
“I really liked the way he was able to put it together today, after being caught in a speed duel on debut at New Plymouth.
“He was able to sit back, circled them, and won with a fair bit in hand. I really like the way he put them away late in the piece and a nice ride from Opie (Bosson).
“He’s certainly a horse with a bright future.”