Controversial decision secures Karaka Million berth

A somewhat controversial decision in the inquiry room at Ellerslie on Saturday has paved the way for the Jamie Richards-trained Bordeaux le Rouge to secure a potential start in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) next month.

Bordeaux Le Rouge winning the Executive Travel Mdn
Bordeaux Le Rouge winning the Executive Travel Mdn Picture: Trish Dunell

Having just his second start, the Burgundy gelding had chased pacemaker and fellow Karaka Million aspirant Taroni hard all the way down the Ellerslie straight but had come up a head short of victory at the winning post.

Some outward movement and contact by Taroni on Bordeaux Le Rouge  over the final 150m saw the protest siren sound shortly after the horses had passed the post where, after lengthy deliberations, the Judicial Committee decided to reverse the placings and declare Bordeaux le Rouge the winner.

Richards admitted it wasn't a good way to win the race but is focussed on getting his charge to the $1 million juvenile dash at Ellerslie in late January in tip-top condition.

"You never like to win a race that way and I guess there was controversy over the result as it probably could have gone either way," Richards said.

"We felt like he (Bordeaux le Rouge) had been hampered as every time he tried to move up alongside the other horse, she shifted out on him and baulked his momentum.

"Regardless the decision was made and we now have to focus on getting him ready for the Karaka Million.

"He will have a few easy days now and then we'll bring him back for one run before the big race."

With stakes earnings totalling $16,500, Bordeaux le Rouge sits fifth in the current order of entry for the Karaka Million with the David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained Baaqyah on top with A$58,500 having been placed second twice, including to impressive youngster Tagaloa at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Richards is also keen to secure a spot in the rich two-year-old feature with stablemate Cool Aza Beel along with a couple of other potential candidates that have yet to have their first raceday starts.

"Cool Aza Beel is a horse we really like although at present he probably needs to earn some more money to make the field for the race," he said.

"He was narrowly beaten on debut and then had no luck at Counties last time when finishing fourth.

"He will most likely run at Ellerslie two weeks out from the Karaka Million and secure his spot that way.

"We also have a couple more candidates at home that could have a shot if they can win first up between now and the end of January, although there are others that we had hoped would put their hands up, but it hasn't worked out that way, which can happen with two-year-olds."

Richards has produced the quinella in the last two editions of the Karaka Million 2YO with Probabeel and Aotea Lad in 2019 and in 2018 with Avantage and Al Hasa when training in partnership with Stephen Autridge, while he and Autridge also prepared Melody Belle to win the race in 2017.

The 2020 Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) will be run at Ellerslie on Saturday January 25.
NZ Racing News