Te Akau Shark was “briiiiiilllliant” according to race commentator Tony Lee when cruising home to win the $70,000 Group 3 Red Badge Open Handicap Sprint over 1400m at Hastings in October 2018.
A showy chestnut who showed plenty of promise from day one, Te Akau Shark has now won six of his eleven race day starts. The only time he has not been placed in the first three, was when he finished fourth in the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas behind stablemates Embellish and Age of Fire who ran the quinella – and that was at just his third start in November 2017.
Off the scene with a minor injury, Te Akau Shark returned to racing on the first day of the Hastings’ Spring Carnival. Sent out hot favourite, he disposed of that field with ease – a wonderful result for his very proud and patient owners. Six weeks later he was back for the final day of the Spring Carnival in the hands of Michel Coleman. With Coleman describing himself as “merely the passenger”, the ‘Shark’ again dealt to a very talented Group 3 field with disdain, scoring by three lengths untouched.
His next start was as hot favourite in the $230,000 Group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile at Riccarton on the middle day of the NZ Cup Carnival. He again exhibited the ‘wow’ factor cruising home for a dominant six length victory – a performance that saw rider Opie Bosson declare him as potentially the best horse he has ever ridden!
Resuming in the Group 2 US Navy Flag Foxbridge Plate in August 2019, Te Akau Shark rattled home from the rear to turn heads when finishing runner up. He went straight to Sydney and first up in Australia, impressed all with his second placing in a race not run to suit, and over a distance short of his best, the A$200,000 Group 2 Tramway Stakes 1400m in September 2019.
Te Akau Shark was plagued by wide draws i9n his next two Australian starts that campaign, which made his performances even more meritorious – from a wide gate he stormed home to be beaten into second by just a lip in the A$1 million Group 1 Epsom Handicap in early October in Sydney. Moving to Melbourne for his ultimate target race for the preparation, he again copped bad luck, drawing the widest gate for the A$5 million Ladbroke’s Cox Plate.
A stunning Opie Bosson ride (legendary Hall of Fame jockey Brent Thompson labelled it a ’15 out of 10′ ride) saw Te Akau Shark run up the inside of the tight Moonee Valley circuit to claim third place behind the Japanese raider and a 3YO colt who the Shark gave 10kgs – he was brilliant.
Resuming at Te Rapa in February 2020 for the Waikato Racing Club’s “Legends’ Day” – Te Akau Shark was sent out hot favourite for the $200,000 Group 1 BCD Sprint WFA 1400m – and in the hands of Opie Bosson, he came from well back at the turn with a barnstorming run – and to the cheers of the crowd – to claim his first career Group 1 win by 2.5 lengths. It was an outstanding performance and it also brought up Opir Bosson’s 60th Group 1 victory!
With ‘unfinished Group 1 business’ to see to in Australia, Te Akau Shark returned to Sydney in late February 2020 – and that dream indeed became the reality! In the hands of Te Akau stablerider Opie Bosson, the handsome chestnut flew home posting unbelievable sectionals to claim the A$600,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes over the mile. This is the race won four years in a row previously by the mighty Winx.
This exciting galloper is raced by an enthusiastic group of Australians (including Cronulla Sharks’ captain Paul Gallen – hence his name) and Kiwis and was purchased by David Ellis for $230,000 from the NZB Ready to Run Sale.
He has raced twelve times for seven wins and five placings with stakes’ earnings of $1.4 million.