Vinery graduate La Forza ended a recent run of outs for trainer Jamie Richards with a straight-course victory in the Argonaut Plate (1000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.

La Forza (2g Toronado – Minetti by Star Witness) was the first of four winners for premier jockey Zac Purton at the Queen Mother Memorial Cup meeting and the first for Richards since Courier Magic (NZ) saluted at Happy Valley on March 20.

The former Kiwi handler purchased La Forza from Vinery (as agent) for $310,000 at the 2023 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.  “You’ve just got to keep your chin up and it will turn at some stage,” a relieved Richards said after ending a run of 79 outs.

“It’s particularly satisfying with La Forza because the owner Mr Huma sent us down to the Sydney Sale with some money to spend and this was the one we thought was going to be a nice Griffin horse here in Hong Kong.  He’s fronted up and did the job, so it’s really satisfying.”

La Forza had been runner-up on debut to Irish-bred 3yo colt Thunder Blink (Ribchester) in the first Griffin race of the season on April 14.  Richards added cheek pieces to help him focus better and was impressed by the gelding’s improvement when he knuckled down to defeat Run Yes Run (Yes Yes Yes) by a half-length second time out.

“He went down fighting first-up and was probably ridden better today with a little bit of cover.  We’ve got a little bit of time to get him ready for the next Griffin race.  He’s still quite an immature horse, this is only the start of hopefully a successful career and we will just take it step by step.”

La Forza was bred by Victorian bloodstock agent Sheamus Mills from Minetti who was a Ballarat 3yo maiden winner for Team Hawkes.  Second-dam Italia (Stravinsky) won the 2006 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (Gr.2, 1200m) at Trentham.

Richards was right on the money when interviewed after the Toronado colt was knocked down at Riverside Stables.  “He will get up and go and we will take him home and get him ready,” Richards predicted.  “Toronado is going extra well in Hong Kong and I was happy to get this colt after being underbidder on three yesterday.”

Vinery has an outstanding strike-rate with Inglis Easter Yearling graduates in Hong Kong and a Zoustar – Aristia colt topped its leader-board last month when purchased by trainer Dougie Whyte for $725,000.