Graham Richardson will follow a proven formula with his leading sprinter Bonny Lass through to her grand final at Te Rapa on New Year’s Day.
With training partner Rogan Norvall, he produced the daughter of Super Easy to successfully open her campaign with a dashing first-up victory in the Gr.3 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) at Rotorua on Sunday.
She also completed a winning double for the stable, who had earlier produced the highly regarded Snazzytavi to make a perfect start to her career with a runaway victory in the T W Moore Maiden (1400m).
Bonny Lass’ preparation is focussed on the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m), which will be hosted at Te Rapa next year with a new track being installed at Ellerslie at present, and Richardson will draw on a past and successful experience to have her at the peak of her powers.
“She will probably run next in the Counties Bowl (Listed, 1100m) at Pukekohe on November 19 between now and the Railway,” he said.
“I don’t think I’ll do too much with her, she’s better when she’s kept fresh and I did the same thing with Kailey, who won the Railway.”
Kailey was a daughter of Festal, who claimed the 1997 edition of the premier sprint.
Bonny Lass was quickly into stride before rider Craig Grylls eased her into the trail and, when into the clear, the mare rounded off strongly to account for Gospodin and last year’s runner-up Packing Rockstar.
Richardson had been confident of a bold first-up showing from the mare following her lead-up trial win and a recent exhibition gallop.
Bonny Lass has fashioned an excellent record and won the Gr.2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) and finished third in both the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) and Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) as a two-year-old.
She returned last season to win a further three races, including the Gr.3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m), after which she was spelled.
Bonny Lass’ stablemate Snazzytavi also has lofty goals ahead of her with the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) a long-term target.
The Cambridge Stud-raced Tavistock filly was quickly into stride to sit outside the leader and, despite racing greenly, coasted clear to score by five and a half lengths in the hands of Joe Kamaruddin.
“She was very impressive and I didn’t think she would win so well. She doesn’t know what she’s doing yet, but I do think a lot of her,” Richardson said.
“Her main goal will be the Oaks, although I haven’t discussed it yet with Brendan and Jo (Lindsay) and it will be entirely up to them.
“There’s a lot of three-year-old fillies’ races for her before the Oaks like the Eulogy Stakes (Gr.3, 1600m) and the Royal Stakes (Gr.2, 2000m).”
Meanwhile, Richardson was delighted with the performance of Defibrillate, who finished third in Saturday’s Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) in testing conditions at Hastings in his first appearance for five months.
“He pulled up better than I thought, it was a tough track,” he said.
Defibrillate began his career with part-owner Richardson and won two of his first three starts before he joined Patrick Payne’s stable and claimed a further eight victories, including three Listed titles.
“He will go to the Balmerino Stakes (Gr.3, 2050m) at Pukekohe next and then go through the other weight-for-age races, he’s well-suited to weight-for-age racing now,” Richardson said.