‘Fire’ Crowned in Levin Classic

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Age of Fire | Trish Dunell

By Heather Anderson

Tabbed the 6-4 favourite in the 1600-metre G1 Levin Classic at Trentham on Saturday, Age of Fire (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) duly delivered, getting his first black-type win and going from G1SP to G1SW in the space of 1:36.63. Retained rider Opie Bosson combined with the strapping bay proved a potent combination for Te Akau Racing and co-trainers Jamie Richards and Stephen Autridge, succeeding over fillies Belle Du Nord (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}) and GSW Savvy Coup (NZ) (Savabeel {Aus}).

“That’s why he’s paid the big retainer,” said Richards to NZ Racing. “He’s a lovely, big horse and he pinned his ears back, he was in for the fight.”

Able to secure a rails run in midpack for the first half of the race, traffic issues aplenty appeared imminent for Bosson and Age of Fire. Swinging him sharply away from the fence inside the 600-meter marker, Bosson’s tactics paid off, as the hulking colt had clear sailing and began to let down with a vengeance inside the final quarter mile. Savvy Coup matched the colt’s move to his inside, while Belle Du Nord was hanging tough on the rails, with Age of Fire only besting the distaffers in the final handful of strides. The margins told the tale, with Age of Fire a neck to the good of Belle Du Nord, who was only a nose better than the ultra game Savvy Coup.

“He is a lovely colt and his work in the last few weeks has been outstanding,” said Bosson, who was riding Age Of Fire for the first time. “He’s a big horse, but light on his feet. I was a little bit worried across the top when there wasn’t much pseed, but once I got into the clear, he showed that powerful finish. Well done to Stephen and Jamie and the team–another Group 1 for the tangerine.”

“My gut feeling is that we’ll go to the [Feb. 10 G1] Herbie Dyke S. to give him another chance at a Group 1,” Richards said of the joint-favourite for the Mar. 3 G1 New Zealand Derby.

Bred by Roncon in New South Wales, Age of Fire was raised at Coolmore Australia, before catching the eye of Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale. Bought for A$400,000 out of the Erinvale Thoroughbreds consignment, the bay took some time to come to hand and debuted with a second at Riccarton Park as a sophomore on Sept. 9. Off the mark going 1400 metres there on Oct. 7, he earned a Group 3 placing in the G3 Barneswood Farm S. at Ashburton later that month and continued to progress with a closing second to fellow Te Akau silksbearer Embellish (NZ) (Savabeel {Aus}) in the G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas returned to Riccarton on Veteran’s Day. Prior to his Levin triumph, Age of Fire closed resolutely to win a 3-year-old feature by a nose at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

Pedigree Notes…

Age of Fire is the 32nd Group 1 winner for his Coolmore Australia-based sire Fastnet Rock (Aus) (Danehill), who also shuttles to Coolmore Ireland. The unraced Dragon’s Tail (Aus) has essentially been married to Fastnet Rock, as she has already thrown the winning fillies Fastnet Fire (Aus), a 5-year-old and Dynastic Lady (Aus), a 4-year-old, prior to the Levin Classic hero. There are also yearling (lot 172, offered by Hallmark Stud, during the upcoming New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale at Karaka at the end of January) and weanling full-sisters to Age of Fire yet to come. His second dam is a half-sister to English highweight and G1 Lockinge S. hero Fly to the Stars (GB) (Bluebird) and this is also the family of G1 Coronation S. heroine Fallen For You (GB) (Dansili {GB}). His fourth dam, Light Duty (GB) (Queen’s Hussar {GB}), was runner-up in the 1975 G1 Yorkshire Oaks. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.

 

Saturday, Trentham, New Zealand
LEVIN CLASSIC-G1, NZ$225,000 (US$163,144/£118,858/€133,712), WRC, 1-13, 3yo, Open Set Weight, 1600mT, 1:36.63, Dead.
1–AGE OF FIRE (AUS) , 56.5, c, 3, by Fastnet Rock (Aus)
                1st Dam: Dragon’s Tail (Aus), by Galileo (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Zaitoona (Ire), by Soviet Star (USA)
                3rd Dam: Rise and Fall (GB), by Mill Reef (USA)
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN. 1ST GROUP WIN. 1ST GROUP 1 WIN.
(A$400,000 Ylg 2016 WI Sydney Easter Yearling Sale). O-Te
Akau 2016 Sydney Breeding Syndicate No.2 (Mgr: D C Ellis);
B-Roncon (NSW); T-S Autridge & J Richards; J-O P Bosson;
NZ$134,375. Lifetime Record: 6-3-2-1, NZ$286,000. Werk Nick
   Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*. Click for the
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Belle du Nord, 54.5, f, 3, Reliable Man (GB)–Bankside Belle,
by Volksraad (GB). (NZ$50,000 Ylg 2016 NZB National
Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Sale). O-Northern Club Racing
Syndicate No.12 (Mgr: Sir David Williams Knzm,qc); B-Nearco
Stud Limited (NZ); T-E & D Browne; J-V A Colgan; NZ$43,000.
3–Savvy Coup, 54.5, f, 3, Savabeel (Aus)–Eudora, by Pins (Aus).
(NZ$65,000 Ylg 2016 NZB National Yearling Sale). O-Mrs A M,
A R, C J, F H & J F Bruford, Mrs J D, L R & R A Coupland;
B-Waikato Stud Ltd (NZ); T-M & M Pitman; J-M J Mc Nab;
NZ$21,500.
Margins: NK, NO, 1HF. Odds: 1.50, 16.50, 6.40.
Also Ran: Rock on Wood, Spring Heat (Aus), The Great Southern, Maktoum, Sensei (Aus), Hard Merchandize, O’Hara, Haussmann, All in Mana, Gothenburg.
Click for the Racing Post chart. NZ Racing Video.

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