Laking on Another Northern Mission for Te Akau

Date: 5 Oct 2022

Laking on Another Northern Mission for Te Akau


NZ Racing News reports:


The last time Jason Laking answered a North Island call-up from Te Akau he repaid the powerful racing operation's faith by claiming a Group One victory.

The Ashburton-based jockey will be hoping for a similar outcome on Saturday at Matamata where he has jumped at the opportunity to guide the fortunes of five representatives of Mark Walker's stable.

“Te Akau's got a fair few in and they were running out of jockeys so they needed me up there,” he said.

His rides include Prise De Fer in the Gr.1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) with the seven-year-old chasing a breakthrough success, having previously placed four times at the elite level.

Laking will also be aboard Accidental Tourist in the Gr.2 AHD Hawke's Bay Guineas (1400m), the other feature rescheduled to Matamata from last weekend's abandoned Hastings fixture.



He knows Prise De Fer well having partnered Savabeel's son to victory in the Gr.3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) in the autumn (above) while he will be having his first ride on Telperion three-year-old Accidental Tourist.

Laking will also combine with Espionage in the Mitre 10 Matamata Maiden (1400m), Hero Worship in the Fairview Motors Matamata Handicap (1400m) and Cote de Beaune in the Colchester Engineering Ltd Handicap (1200m).

He has forged a successful alliance with Te Akau, highlighted by his success last season aboard Belle En Rouge in the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham (below).



That winning trend continued most recently as last Saturday at Riccarton where the 39-year-old guided Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) contender Cognito (below) to win the Inglewood Stud Guineas Trial (1400m).



Laking has also taken his association off the track to another level with Te Akau, who has a big team of horses based in the South Island with a focus on New Zealand Cup week.

The 39-year-old has taken time out from his regular employment with Ashburton company Midlands Seed to help run the stable and ride trackwork.

“I'm on a sabbatical at the moment because I'm doing a fair bit for Te Akau down here,” Laking said.

“I'm working full-time for them while they have a team down here.

“They are based at Riccarton and the days I work in the afternoons I stay out at Mark Jones' place, the harness trainer, so I don't have to travel back at 5pm at night.

“It's a bit of a halfway house and it's not working out too badly.”

Laking, whose first major success came with The Jewel in the 2002 Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), has battled weight issues during his career and retired from the saddle in 2011.

Three years later he was lured back by trainer Terry Kennedy to compete as an amateur rider and that proved to be the catalyst for him to subsequently re-enter the professional ranks, a decision he has never regretted.

The colder months can often be the bane of heavier jockeys, but Laking's approach and change in circumstance has aided his cause.

“With the full-time work for Te Akau it has brought my weight down a lot quicker and I'm doing it easy enough so I'm pretty happy,” he said.

“I enjoy riding in the North Island as well and I'm riding around 57kg. Normally at this time of the year I am battling to do around 58.5 or 59kg.”


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