Season Review: Cognito the Conqueror

Date: 31 Jul 2023

Season Review: Cognito the Conqueror


A season tally of 203 New Zealand wins, a new national record and the first time any trainer has reached the double century, included 33 Group/Listed titles in New Zealand and Imperatriz's Group 1 in Melbourne - we continue our reflection on the black type beauties during 2022/23 - this time is was Cognito who conquered ...


Given a brilliant steer by stable rider Opie Bosson, Cognito (3 g So You Think – Lady Primrose, by More Than Ready) was equal to the task when winning the $140,000 Life Direct Wellington Guineas (Gr. 2, 1400m) on 14 January at Trentham.

The race holds fond memories for Te Akau, having previously won with five-time Group One winner and champion stallion Darci Brahma (Danehill) in 2005, while two years ago Need I Say More (No Nay Never) recorded his seventh win from nine starts when taking out the event.

For Cognito, who continued good form with a notable sixth in the 2000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) during Cup Week at Riccarton, the build up was not ideal after missing a lead-up race at Taupo, but like the ride by Bosson the training feat by Mark Walker was also special.

“When you’ve got Opie on, he can do miracle things and it was a great ride,” Walker said. 

Not dissimilar to the ride by Dean Yendall aboard stable-mate Belle En Rouge (Burgundy) when winning the previous stakes race (Anniversary Handicap), Bosson positioned Cognito back inner, 12th and seven lengths 600m, but encountered more traffic near the rail before getting clear late and dashing home.

“He’s probably furnished up and we love taking horses in the spring to Riccarton,” Walker said. “The horses grow up mentally down there and I think the trip away just made him.”

“Dave (Ellis) bought this bloke at the Gold Coast Yearling Sales and he was there again last week, so for anyone that wants to join the team there are some shares available on the website.”

Owned by Te Akau Think Ahead Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Cognito was purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $165,000, from the draft of Baramul Stud, at the 2021 Gold Coast National Yearling Sale. To date he has won $138,290 in his three wins from eight starts.



Built in the mould of his 10-time Group One winning sire So You Think (High Chaparral), Cognito was solid through the trials stage, has the pedigree and type to get further, but often the case with these sorts of horses the better ones can sprint well fresh, which he obliged doing when winning on debut over 1200 metres in August at Taupo.

He has now won three of his six starts and virtually recovered his purchase price in earnings. 

When buying Cognito as a yearling, Ellis said: “He’s a nice athletic horse, with a lovely head and eye and plenty of presence. He’s all quality, from head to toe, and buying him early in the sale we felt he was good value at the price.”

From a mare by international stallion More Than Ready (Southern Halo), Cognito carries a bloodline cross of immortal sire Northern Dancer. 

Dam Lady Primrose has already left Hard Lady (All Too Hard), a dual winner to 1300 metres in Australia, along with mile winner Presser (Press Statement), while grand-dam Primrose Sands, by Champion Sire and Broodmare Sire Zabeel (Sir Tristram), was a stakes winner and Group Two placed over 2000 metres – winning nine times, including eight in succession, from 1200m to 2000m – and left three winners of eight races. 


Te Akau previously won the Wellington Guineas (Gr. 2, 1400m):

2021 – Need I Say More (No Nay Never)

2005 – Darci Brahma (Danehill)



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