NZB Insurance Sprint Triple Crown set for Spectacular Final Leg

Avantage (Fastnet Rock), winner of Leg 2 in the NZB Insurance Sprint Triple Crown.
Avantage (Fastnet Rock), winner of Leg 2 in the NZB Insurance Sprint Triple Crown.

A stellar field is set for a scintillating clash in Saturday’s $200,000 Group One BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa, the final leg of the inaugural NZB Insurance Sprint Triple Crown.

One of three NZB Insurance Triple Crown Series introduced this season, the Sprint Triple Crown carries a $100,000 bonus for any horse who can win the $200,000 Group One Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, the $250,000 Group One Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham in mid-January and the BCD Group Sprint at Te Rapa.

The Triple Crown hopes of Railway winner Julius (NZ) (Swiss Ace) were extinguished in the Telegraph, but the star-studded field for Saturday’s BCD Group Sprint ensures there is no diminished interest in the weight-for-age feature.

Last-start Cox Plate placegetter Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) heads the superb line-up, while The Mitigator (Master of Design), Enzo’s Lad (Testa Rossa), Avantage (Fastnet Rock) and Volpe Veloce (Foxwedge) are all Group One winners. Star South Island mare Kiwi Ida (Squamosa) has won Group Two races in both of her last two starts.

The BCD Group Sprint will be run as Race 8 at Te Rapa on Saturday with a start time of 4:30pm.

# Horse Draw Comments Trainer Jockey
1 Te Akau Shark 4 One of New Zealand's most exciting racehorses, Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) has scored breathtaking victories in five of his 10 starts to date. He was a consistent placegetter in elite company through the spring, including in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and the world-famous Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m). In the Epsom Handicap, he was beaten by Kolding (NZ) (Ocean Park), who won the A$7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m) in his next start. His Cox Plate conqueror was champion Japanese mare Lys Gracieux (Heart's Cry), who dominated a brilliant field in the Group 1 Arima Kinen (2500m) a few weeks later. Te Akau Shark warmed up for his eagerly anticipated return with a bold exhibition gallop at Ellerslie during last month's Karaka Million twilight race meeting. Jamie Richards Opie Bosson
2 The Mitigator 1 Bold front-runner The Mitigator (Master of Design) comes into this race on the back of a career-best performance, scoring his first Group 1 victory in last month's Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham. Earlier in the season, he ran a sparkling time of 1:33.18 when he won the Group 3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie. Peter McKay Jason Waddell
3 Endless Drama 5 The well-travelled Endless Drama (Lope de Vega) has been a Group 1 placegetter in Ireland, England and Australia. He won the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at this track in August, defeating Te Akau Shark and the Group 1-winning machine Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands). He has been unplaced in all of his four subsequent starts, but has struck plenty of bad luck during that time. Tony Pike Leith Innes
4 Enzo's Lad 8 South Island sprint star Enzo's Lad (Testa Rossa) seems to peak for one weekend in January every year. He won the Group 1 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham in 2018 and 2019 with brilliant performances, and he returned there again last month for a gallant second. He needs to prove that he can stretch out over 1400 metres, having finished outside the placings in his two previous attempts beyond 1200 metres. Michael & Matthew Pitman Michael Coleman
5 More Wonder 2 More Wonder (Mossman) finished fourth or fifth in no fewer than four Group 1 races as a three-year-old last summer, including against older horses in the Thorndon Mile and Haunui Farm Classic (1600m). He didn't fire in the spring, but returned to action with a strong second at Trentham last month. Team Rogerson Ryan Elliot
6 Avantage 6 Avantage (Fastnet Rock) was New Zealand's champion two-year-old of her generation, and she scored superb wins at stakes level  in New Zealand and Sydney as a three-year-old. She had a disastrous spring this season, but was right back at her brilliant best with a last-start victory in the Telegraph at Trentham. Jamie Richards Troy Harris
7 Kiwi Ida 7 Star South Island mare Kiwi Ida (Squamosa) is a prolific winner, with 14 victories to her name from 41 career appearances. She is undefeated in two starts in the North Island - the Group 2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni in December, and last month's Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie. John & Karen Parsons Chris Johnson
8 Volpe Veloce 3 Group 1 winner Volpe Veloce (Foxwedge) comes into this race on the back of a sparkling effort for second in the Westbury Classic at Ellerslie - a race she won 12 months earlier. Graham Richardson Michael McNab

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