Matamata Double - El Viento Flies Like the Wind

Date: 10 Jan 2024

Matamata Double - El Viento Flies Like the Wind

Te Akau trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson formed the quinella with winner El Viento (3 g El Roca – Mandeville, by Hussonet) and Akenehi (Fastnet Rock) in the $25,000 Mapperley Stud Maiden 1400 metres on 10 January at Matamata.

Each having just their second start, El Viento ran home strongly when debuting in the Maiden 1200 metres on 22 December at Matamata, while Akenehi closed nicely for fourth on debut in the Maiden 3YO 1200 metres on 23 December at Te Rapa.

Ridden by premiership leader Warren Kennedy, El Viento was pushed up from five lengths astern at the 600m, angled out on straightening and let down with a flourish in centre track to win stylishly. 

After receiving an economical trip on the inner, Akenehi speared through a gap mid-straight under Opie Bosson to lead, only to be swamped late.

It was a good effort by both horses, especially so early in their careers, showing that they both possess good futures.

“He needs more ground and he’s still learning, but I liked that he was able to keep in touch with them and he ran home really well,” Kennedy said.

On Good4 footing, El Viento ran 1400 metres in 1:25.2, last 600m in 34.8, and paid $5.40 & $1.70 on the NZ TAB tote.

“He’s taken time to get him settled and relaxed, and it was very satisfying to see him win the way he did today,” said co-trainer Mark Walker.

“It was a really good ride of Warren’s, and now we’ve taught him to relax and settle we think he’s got a good future.

“He’s a big horse with plenty of scope, plenty of length about him, and he’ll only get better as a four and five-year-old.”

Owned by the Te Akau Fly Like The Wind Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), El Viento was purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $95,000 at the 2022 NZB Ready to Run Sale, from the draft of Westbury Stud.

A good athlete that let down and got into his work, he breezed up in the top 20 times (10.26) when galloping in October at Te Rapa. 

His sire El Roca, by Champion Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill), keeps firing out winners and had Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m) winner Travelling Light from his first crop.

El Roca has sired over 370 winners, including 16 stakes' winners, two of them at Group One level. 

His dam Mandeville was a winner over 1600 metres in Australia, before doing a great job as a broodmare, producing eight to race and all have been winners.

Dam-sire Hussonet (Mr. Prospector) was a highly respected sire of over 20 Champion gallopers worldwide, while further enhancing his status as a very influential broodmare sire. 

At the time of purchase, Ellis said: “We were taken with his breeze-up and his will to stretch out.

“He’s a very classy type of colt with a great action and from a world renowned family.

“It’s exciting to be able to buy a horse from the family of Black Caviar, who was unbeaten in 25 races, and her half-brother and successful stallion All Too Hard.”

Accepting on behalf of the owners, Neil Bartosh, who heads a syndicate from Lockerbie Retirement Village, Morrinsville, said: “We’ve got a group of 10, some of them are first time owners, and we live in a lovely spot.

“I shifted over there 18 months and one of the first things I did was get people involved in horses. A number haven’t had racehorses before and it’s always a great feeling to experience your first win.

“I set these up eight years ago at Mt Maunganui, and we’ve been very lucky, starting with Red Poppy with Te Akau, named by the people at the RSA, and we’ve had about 38 winners.”

The colt carries a Nijinsky (Northern Dancer) cross through the dam line of Fastnet Rock and dam side of Mandeville. 

El Viento was strapped by Ashley Handley.

Photo credit -


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