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Unbeaten Volpe Veloce heads Graham Richardson's powerful weekend team
09 Dec 2016

Volpe Veloce is fast capturing the attention of thoroughbred fans.

The expensive Karaka yearling is living right up to her $240,000 price tag and can justify it further in the Group III Eulogy Stakes (1600m) on Saturday at Awapuni.

Matamata trainer Graham Richardson is trying to absorb the inevitable pressure that builds each time she returns home unbeaten. 

Currently the Foxwedge 3-year-old is four from four in her short career and there's no way Richardson is taking anything for granted.

"It's always a worry and without a doubt the pressure builds a bit," he said. "But we will take it race by race just so it takes the pressure off the horse, the owners and the trainer.

"We will let the horse do the talking - saying that, she has still got a lot to learn and the biggest worry for me is that she gets there so easily when she is asked for an effort and then tends to look around a bit."

Not everything went Volpe Veloce's way in the spring, with plans to contest the 1000 Guineas (1600m) abandoned after an interrupted her lead-up.

She has won each of her starts by at least two lengths and comfortably won an age group race at Tauranga last start.

"She has thrived since. We couldn't be happier with her," Richardson said."The only query is the 1600 which she hasn't been tried at yet but I think she will get it.

 "She switches off and relaxes and is very sensible in a race and Johnathan knows her well."

Johnathan Parkes has ridden Volpe Veloce in her last three starts and is able to stick with the filly this weekend.

The rival Richardson has strong respect for is the Paul Shailer-trained Rayas who ran a bold second in the Wellington Stakes to Lincoln Blue when last tested.

Plans for Volpe Veloce beyond the Eulogy are uncertain, but provided she races well, there is a chance she will not run again until the Levin Classic at Trentham on January 14.

Established stayer Dubai Shuttle and Pure Lorde complete Richardson's Awapuni team.

"Dubai Shuffle needs to be wound into his work early while Pure Lorde goes very well," he said. "She is a lovely staying horse and I expect her to go well and justify a spot in the Dunstan Stayers' Final."

At Te Rapa he is looking for Snapshot to return to his best in the Listed Swap Contractors Sprint.

"His work has been good, he's got a good draw, the 1400 suits and the track will be spot on and Craig [Grylls] knows him well.

"If we can teach him to relax, which he is learning to do, races like the Rich Hill Mile and Thorndon will suit him."

Los Vargas also runs at Te Rapa and is a horse rated highly by her trainer.

"If she goes well on Saturday we will obviously have to look at the Railway Stakes."

Tim Ryan

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