Pinot toast for Burgundy filly

23 Nov 2017

A Burgundy filly looks a key piece of the Te Akau Racing jigsaw for this season's Karaka Million (1200m).

Trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards will be looking to Pinot Grey, an impressive debut winner at Otaki earlier this month, to cement her place in the line-up for the $1 million juvenile feature at Ellerslie on January 27.

Pinot Grey has $6250 in the kitty as a result of her win and a further victory (or even a second) in the $50,000 Listed Ashford Lodge 2YO Stakes (1100m) this weekend could be enough to guarantee her spot in the Karaka Million.

Already the Te Akau team has four of the top earners on the Karaka Million order of entry list with Al Hasa, an impressive winner of last Saturday’s Listed Barneswood Farm Welcome Stakes (1000m) at Riccarton, and Avantage, unbeaten in two starts, safely in the field.

Al Hasa is third on the list - headed by Australian-trained youngster Long Leaf - with $32,475 and Avantage next with $28,120. Pinot Grey is down in eighth spot at present with stablemate Irish Cream also on $6250.

Cambridge Stud-bred Irish Cream, who annihilated her opposition with a seven-length debut win at Ruakaka, is in the same boat as Pinot Grey needing more stake money to cement her place in the Karaka Million.

“She jarred up pretty badly after her first run and we’re taking her along quietly,” Autridge said.

“We’re not putting any pressure on her to get there.”

Avantage has also had a setback and is on the easy list. Shinsoreness prevented her from running in last Saturday’s Listed Barneswood Farm Welcome Stakes.

“She’s on the water-walker and we’re just taking our time with her,” Autridge said. “She’s been feeling the ground a bit.”

However, there has been no cause for concern with Pinot Grey as she builds up for Saturday’s stakes mission.

“She’s a very natural two-year-old and knows what to do,” Autridge said. “She won her first start easily and she’s done well since.

“If she can win again, or even run second, we can back off her knowing she’ll get in the Karaka Million. We’ll probably do the same as we did with Melody Belle last year before she won the Karaka Million.”

A $145,000 Select Sale purchase by David Ellis, Pinot Grey is a daughter of Burgundy and the unraced Stravinsky mare Streaming and hails from the same family as Melbourne Cup legend Makybe Diva. - NZ Racing Desk