Volpe Veloce ready for Railway challenge
31 December 2017, 2:14 p.m.
Matamata trainer Graham Richardson admits the nerves aren’t far from the surface as he contemplates what could be a very big day for his stable at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
Richardson and training partner Gavin Parker are well represented throughout many of the feature events on the day with Gr. 1 Sistema Railway (1200m) candidate Volpe Veloce spearheading their raceday contingent at New Zealand’s premier venue.
|Volpe Veloce Photo: Trish Dunell|
The four-year-old Foxwedge mare will attempt to keep her perfect record at both the course and distance intact when she tackles the cream of the country’s sprinting talent at just her 13th start. It’s a fact not lost on Richardson who has seen his charge come a long way in a relatively short period.
“She is still just learning the game really,” he said.
“She can still do a lot wrong in her races which is just a maturity thing, however, there have been some signs lately she is starting to get her act together.
“She used to be a real handful on raceday but now when you put the saddle on she calms down quite remarkably. In saying that I think she will always be a quirky character and her antics around the stable can be a little wearing.
“Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to be married to her.”
Despite those characteristics, Richardson makes no bones about his high regard for the mare who he believes can take out her first elite level victory with a little luck on her side.
“She is a very very good horse and I think she is a big chance if she can find some luck,” he said.
“She didn’t get any favours with the barrier draw but with the speed likely to be on from the jump it should give her a chance to slot in somewhere.
“Jake (Bayliss) is a top rider so he just has to have her where she is comfortable and then try and bring her into the race at the right time.
“We’ve kept her on the fresh side as she is at her best like that and I couldn’t be happier with her.”
Richardson is also looking for a change of fortune for his Gr. 2 Jamieson Park Auckland Guineas (1600m) candidate Xbox.
“He’s a very promising type who didn’t get a lot go right for him last time,” he said of the Niagara gelding.
“He got held up twice and should have been a lot closer to the winner even though he did well to get second.
“He’s meeting a strong field and has a tricky draw, but I definitely think he can be competitive with the right run.”
The stable’s black-type candidates don’t end there with promising mare Wildflower set to tackle the Gr. 2 Laser Plumbing Te Puke Avondale Cup (2400m) while another up and comer in Tiptronic will take his place in the Gr. 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m).
“Both Wildflower and Tiptronic are up against it but they deserve their chance at a major prize,” said Richardson.
“Wildflower has had an unorthodox preparation, but she is well and will relish the step up in distance while Tiptronic is a far better horse than his last start suggests.
“He gets in to the Rich Hill on the minimum and I think he has the talent to compete at that level.” – NZ Racing Desk