Perfect Season Start - Cote De Beaune Brilliant

Date: 3 Aug 2023

Perfect Season Start - Cote De Beaune Brilliant


Given a great ride, Cote de Beaune (5 g Burgundy – Lucrative, by Pyrus) won the $17,000 Rating 65 970 metres on 2 August at Cambridge (poly-track).

In doing so, he became the first winner for the new Te Akau training partnership of Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson, and the first win this season (2023/24) following a record-breaking 203 wins and $8.25 million prize money in 2022/23.

While the first for Bergerson, it added to the tally of over 1700 wins for Walker, a 10 time premiership winner. 

Walker had broken the double century mark with four wins on 27 July at Awapuni (poly-track), and Hero Worship (Xtravagant) was the most recent during a bumper season in the very last race on 29 July at Te Rapa.

Bred by Te Akau Stud and Jamie Richards, for owners in the Te Akau Grand Cru Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), it was a welcome return to form by Cote de Beaune, who won three of five starts in his first season of racing when ending his campaign in the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m).

In his only lead-up trial, Cote de Beaune ran home strongly for third on 11 July at Cambridge, had shown to handle the surface, acted fresh, and rated a top three chance from barrier one.

Utilizing barrier one to trail a competitive pace, Cote de Beaune appeared to be in the plum spot throughout under jockey Warren Kennedy, who was also successful aboard Hero Worship last Saturday, and he put the race to bed with a good turn of foot to lead mid-straight. 

In the race sponsored by Kingsclere Stables, Cote de Beaune returned $6.40 & $2.10 on the NZ TAB tote.

“It was a really good win and a good ride of Warren’s,” Walker said. “It’s a really special day for Sam (Bergerson) and one he’ll always remember. We were in the office together watching it and great to get a win together on the first day of racing for us in the new season.

“Of course, Sam played a big part in all the winners last season. He’s got the world at his feet, as far as training is concerned. He’s intelligent, a bright young star, and a very proud day for his family as well.”

A year after joining Te Akau, Bergerson, who has an accounting degree and recipient of the Sunline Trust International Scholarship, was made assistant trainer to Jamie Richards for the 2021/22 season. He joined Walker in the same role when he returned to the helm in April 2022 and deservedly now graduated to training partner.

“Monkey off the back early (in the season) is a very good feeling and a bit of relief too,” Bergerson said. “It’s a massive thrill, a bit overwhelming, surreal and bizarre, but we’ll look forward to celebrating later today. 

“I watched the race with Mark (Walker) and it was pretty exciting to see him cross the line in front. 

“I’ve been given a massive opportunity with Te Akau Racing and looking to repay Dave (Ellis) & Karyn (Fenton-Ellis) and Mark for the faith they’ve put in me.

“Last season didn’t really go to plan for Cote de Beaune and a bit disappointing, but we always knew he had the ability to bounce back. 

“He trialled well here in July behind the stable-mates Maven Belle and On The Bubbles, getting back and running on, and Mark thought rather than trialling him again on a heavy track we’ll have a go at the 970 metres and if didn’t work out then it was another trial anyway.

“The plan came off, which is really pleasing, and Warren (Kennedy) gave him a good ride.”

Particularly proud and happy for Bergerson, Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM got to know him and (racing manager) Reece Trumper when they helped out with all the spellers at Te Akau Stud during lockdown in 2020.

“Sam is an outstanding young man, a fine example, and comes from a family with a strong background in training and working with horses,” Ellis said. 

“Horses are the cornerstone of our business and we strive to attain the best we can for our owners, but I can’t stress enough the importance of having the right people involved as well. It doesn’t matter what business or industry you’re in, success is generally determined by how professional your staff are and at Te Akau we’re fortunate to have some of the very best.

“Sam’s father, Roydon Bergerson, is a top trainer and his grandfather, Herb Bergerson, was also a trainer. Sam got an insight into what we do at Te Akau Stud when working here for three months during lockdown, stepped up as assistant trainer to Jamie (Richards) and Mark (Walker) and he’s a smart young guy with a huge future in our industry.”

Cote de Beaune was strapped by Stephanie Hyde-Richards. 


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