Black Type Beauty ~ Discretion Rules

Date: 5 May 2024

Black Type Beauty ~ Discretion Rules

No longer the bridesmaid, Discretion Rules (2 g Alabama Express – Miss Madonna, by Zoustar) won the $80,000 Berkley Stud Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1200m) on Saturday at Riccarton.

Having played second fiddle to stable-mate Nucleozor (Almanzor) in all three starts prior, most recently in the Welcome Stakes (Listed, 1000m) on 13 April at Riccarton, Discretion Rules stuck to his style of racing and it paid off.

Ridden by stable apprentice Niranjan Parmar, who last year won the Most Improved Apprentice Jockey, while leading his peers in the premiership this season, Discretion Rules raced comfortably outside pace making race favourite Great Time (Time Test) and quickened to a winning advantage at the 200m.

Discretion Rules beat home Ziggy Stardust (Turn Me Loose), while stable-mate Colonel Warden (Russian Revolution) produced a very good debut effort for third. 

“He really deserved that stakes win and Parmar gave him a treat of a ride,” said Te Akau racing manager Reece Trumper, from the course.

“We weren’t overly confident about him stepping up to 1200 metres, but he did the job well, and Colonel Warden was really good, too. He flattened out well and Ashvin (Goindasamy) gave him a good ride. He’s a nice, neat, type of horse and he’s only to improve with that.”

On Soft5 footing, Discretion Rules ran 1200 metres in 1:09.6 and held firm in betting to pay $3.60 & $1.60 on the NZ TAB tote.

“It was a really good win today,” said Mark Walker, who trains in partnership with Sam Bergerson. 

“He’d obviously been going great races behind his stable-mate Nucleozor, but it was good to see him get his Maiden win in a Listed race. 

“He’s a yearling that Dave (Ellis) bought before we knew how good the sire (Alabama Express) was going to be. He’s a very promising sire and we very impressed with his yearlings throughout the sales series, at Magic Millions, Sydney, and Melbourne. He’s got a lovely line of young horses, Alabama Express.

“We’re going to give Discretion Rules a break now, because he’s had four starts since early March, so it’s great for him to gain a valuable win before going out.”

Both Discretion Rules and Colonel Warden were each purchased for reasonable amounts by Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM, as yearlings, with Discretion Rules costing $165,000 at the 2023 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Highline Thoroughbreds, for owners Te Akau Non-Stop Express Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

While Colonel Warden was purchased for $170,000 at the 2023 Gold Coast Yearling Sale, from the draft of Coolmore Stud, and owned by loyal Te Akau supporter Ronald Lau.

Discretion Rules is from the first crop of C F Orr Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m) winner Alabama Express, a race also won by his Champion Sire Redoute’s Choice (Danehill).

Discretion Rules became the first stakes winner for Alabama Express, who has made a terrific start to his stallion career with eight individual winners of 10 races, and some immense talent displayed among them.

Out of a mare by Zoustar (Northern Meteor), currently second on the Australian General Sires’ List,  Discretion Rules is from the family of Group One winner and Champion Two-Year-Old Sword of State (Snitzel), purchased as a yearling by David Ellis and approaching his second season sire duties at Cambridge Stud.

Discretion Rules carries bloodline crosses to a number of Champion Sires: Redoute’s Choice, Encosta de Lago, Nijinsky, and Northern Dancer. 

At the time of purchase, Ellis said: “He’s a strong bodied and very mature colt that handled the preparation really well and by a sire that we have high hopes for.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to see Discretion Rules break through and win such a prestigious race for his owners,” Ellis added.

“He’s been chasing home a pretty smart horse in Nucleozor and it looked like he’d get his chance without him in the field today.

“He’s hard fit, handled the prep really well, which just shows how well Hunter Durrant has looked after the horse at Riccarton, in conjunction with Mark & Sam, and the whole team are working so well together.

“We always buy horses with a vision of them developing into three, four, five, and six-year-olds, so to have them racing so well as two-year-olds is always a bonus.

“It comes down to their natural ability and also the way they’ve been broken in at Te Akau Stud, educated at Matamata, and trained by some great horsemen.

“We bought Discretion Rules at Karaka, and Colonel Warden from the Gold Coast, and we’ve still some shares available in some of the Gold Coast Magic Millions yearlings.

“Colonel Warden is owned by one of our great clients in Hong Kong, Ronald Lau, and he will be over the moon with his debut run for third. He’s an exciting horse.

“Ronald has been an amazing supporter of Te Akau for 10 years or more, and we’ve had so much fun together.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of the industry at the moment, with initiatives from both NZTR and Entain, who partners the TAB. Stake money is going up again next year and the betting figures are going really well.

“Mark (Walker) was down there yesterday in Christchurch, inspecting all the horses and he was thrilled with the way Hunter (Durrant) and his team is presenting them, and it’s a great reward for them to win another stakes race.”

Discretion Rules became the 30th stakes' winner for Te Akau this season (21 NZ and 9 Australia) and its 23rd two-year-old win, among a total of 145 wins for the premiership leading training partners, coming at a lower strike rate (5.7) than last season when Te Akau set a record 203 domestic wins.

The two-year-old winners have been headed by Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m) winner Move To Strike (I Am Invincible), dual Group Two & Group Three winner Captured By Love (Written Tycoon), Group Two winner Bellatrix Star (Star Witness), and Listed winner Nucleozor (Almanzor). 

Discretion Rules was strapped by Hollie Smith. 

Photo credit -


Sign up to our newsletter