Superb Snazzytavi delivers another Easter for Richardson and Norvall

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  • April 29, 2024
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Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Two years after taking out the Gr.3 Manco Easter Handicap (1600m) with Carolina Reaper, Matamata trainers Graham Richardson and Rogan Norvall have repeated and surpassed that result with a one-three finish headed by the rising star Snazzytavi.

The time-honoured autumn showpiece was run for the 150th time on Saturday, a week later than expected and at a new home of Te Rapa due to the abandonment of the Ellerslie meeting last weekend. But despite the unusual circumstances, Snazzytavi produced a performance that will take a special place in the Easter Handicap’s recent history.

The four-year-old daughter of Tavistock was having only the 10th start of her career, and she settled near the back of a strung-out field for jockey Warren Kennedy. Coming up to the home turn, she had only three horses behind her and was close to 10 lengths from the lead.

But then Kennedy brought Snazzytavi to the outside and let her rip down the Te Rapa straight. She charged past nine rivals within the space of a few powerful strides, taking command at the 150m mark and opening up a winning margin of three and three-quarter lengths.

Making the result even sweeter for Richardson and Norvall, the winner’s stablemate Channel Surfer also produced an eye-catching finish into third.

“That was enormous, and what a great run from the third horse too,” Richardson said. “I can’t wait until next year with Snazzytavi. I think she’ll get up over more ground in time as well – she just needs to learn a little bit more about being a racehorse. Races like the Herbie Dyke Stakes (Gr.1, 2000m) and Zabeel Classic (Gr.1, 2000m) are great targets that we can try to work towards.

“Channel Surfer will be even better next year too. He’s just a little bit funny in the head, but he’s a very cool horse and has much more in front of him.”

Snazzytavi capped a four-win day for Kennedy, who had previously scored aboard Tomodachi, Thooza and Freeze Frame.

“I think the step back down to the mile today suited her – she’ll get up over further in time, but at the moment she’s just not quite doing everything right over those longer distances,” the premiership-leading jockey said.

“But she can really turn it on. They went at a good clip out in front, and then she made up five or six lengths in the space of about 100m in the straight. It was really quick, really sharp, and she sustained it to the line. I think they’ll have a lot of fun with her next season, and I think she can definitely be up to that Group One sort of level in time.”

Snazzytavi has now had 10 starts for five wins, four placings and $231,275 in stakes. She began the season with only one win and one placing to her name from three appearances, but has made giant strides in her four-year-old preparation with four wins out of seven. She also placed behind Town Cryer in the Listed Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) in February.

Saturday’s win was a case of so close, but so far for long-time Easter Handicap sponsor Bryan Black, who races the gallant runner-up Chattahoochee.

“Our champion ran a great race but was just beaten by a better one today,” he said. “It was a fantastic race and there’s nothing wrong with being second.”

Snazzytavi is raced by Cambridge Stud owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay. The Easter Handicap was the second leg of a Group double on the Te Rapa card for former Cambridge Stud stallion Tavistock, who also sired the Gr.2 Travis Stakes (2000m) winner Apostrophe.

“It’s not often you beat the sponsor,” Lindsay said with a hint of embarrassment. “We came into today thinking we had a good chance, but we certainly didn’t expect her to win it as easily as she did.

“We didn’t breed this one ourselves, but we liked what we saw from her in a trial and we bought her off Gordon Cunningham. Graham Richardson and Rogan Norvall have done a terrific job with her.

“Jo and I just love our racing, and there’s nothing quite like winning a Group race like this with such a promising mare – and especially when she’s a daughter of our late stallion Tavistock.”


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