Natuzzi continues to belie age

Racing Desk
15 September 2017

There are not many occasions where Paul Richards’ silks finish ahead of his son Jamie’s famous tangerine colours, but they did at the Avondale trials on Thursday.

Richards senior’s multiple stakes winner Natuzzi continues to belie his age, finishing runner-up to Te Waewae Bay in a strong 1000m heat.

Natuzzi Photo: Trish Dunell Photography

“He had a nice quiet run to bring him on a bit,” he said. “He’s coming up well, he certainly doesn’t look like a nine-year-old.”

The son of Coats Choice could now be set for some major assignments this season.

“At the moment he’s doing everything we are asking of him and he’s going the right way,” Richards said.

“If he comes up as well as he did last year we’ll aim for those better sprints.”

Richards said Natuzzi would likely resume at Ellerslie at the end of the month, if the track conditions improve.

Meanwhile, his son Jamie, who trains for Te Akau in partnership with Stephen Autridge, was happy enough with his runner Splurge’s third-placing.

“He’s not screwed down yet,” he said. “He could trial again or he could head to the open 1200 at Ellerslie at the end of the month, but if the track was to be heavy and there was still plenty of rain then we would lean toward trialling him again.”

The winner of seven races, including the Gr.3 Darley Plate (1200m), is returning from a disappointing winter campaign across the Tasman where he failed to fire in the in Gr.3 BRC Sprint (1350m) and Gr.2 Moreton Cup (1200m).

Splurge can redeem himself with plenty of black-type targets in mind for the Savabeel gelding this spring.

“One of his first major targets will be the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint at Te Rapa,” Richards said. “Whether he wants a bit more ground now, maybe he’s looking for 1400m, we will soon find out.”

He could also be set for a possible tilt at the Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m), although track conditions will play a crucial role in that decision.

“We’ve just put him into the Coupland’s just in case they get a little bit of rain down there,” Richards said.

“I don’t think he is a horse that will be wanting to run on rock hard ground down there. It was mainly just to keep our options open, he could be a Stewards horse, we’re just unsure yet.

“We just want to see how he progresses because he has got quite a bit of improvement left in him out of today’s trial.” – NZ Racing Desk.

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