Season Review: Tokyo Tycoon Top Class

Date: 4 Aug 2023

Season Review: Tokyo Tycoon Top Class


With the 2022/23 season now 'done and dusted' we hope you enjoy our reflections on the stand-out performances by our Group/Listed winners during the year.  Of our record breaking 203 domestic wins, 33 were black type titles in New Zealand - and Tycoon Tycoon really made an impact on the juvenile scene - he's a ripper ...


Tokyo Tycoon (2 g Satono Aladdin – All About The Coin, by Starcraft) provided Te Akau with its seventh consecutive $1 million Doubletree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m) on 21 January at Pukekohe. 

Tokyo Tycoon had arguably provided the most impressive two-year-old win of the season when drawing clear for a course/distance victory in the 2YO 1100 metres on Boxing Day and, despite a horror draw, he was able to remain unbeaten in three starts. 

Beginning from barrier 13 of 14, franking the performance of former stable star, dual Horse of the Year, and historic Karaka Million double winner Probabeel (Savabeel), when she killed them from the outside gate, Tokyo Tycoon announced himself as a star in the making.

Ridden by Craig Zackey, Tokyo Tycoon began awkwardly, travelled clear last, saved ground near the rail before angling clear at the 250m and stormed home to win. It was a brilliant and calculated ride by the former South African Champion Apprentice and an equine feat of the highest order. 

It was a performance in keeping with that of Probabeel and certainly no less impressive than the subsequent Australian quadruple Group One winner of $4.5 million in prize money. 



Having previously won the race with Melody Belle (Commands), Avantage (Fastnet Rock), Probabeel (Savabeel), Cool Aza Beel (Savabeel), On the Bubbles (Brazen Beau), and Dynastic (Almanzor), Te Akau had a great show with seven of the 14 runners qualifying for the race, all purchased as yearlings by David Ellis CNZM at Karaka.

On Good4 footing, Tokyo Tycoon ran 1200 metres in 1:10.0, last 600m in 33.4, and paid $3.80 & $1.80 on the NZ TAB tote, in a race where stable-mates Trobriand (Kermadec) worked home strongly for third, She Turns Heads (Headwater) fought hard for sixth, and Talisker (Embellish) stretched out well for seventh. 

“I thought at the turn that he had no hope, but it was the effort of a pretty exciting racehorse and a great athlete,” Ellis said.

“It was a pretty humbling evening and just so good for our owners that have invested with us and it’s great to see the excitement that the staff get, too, out of winning these races.

“It reminds me of why they get up so early, because it’s all about the horse for them, and that’s what keeps me going in such a stimulating industry.

“It’s quite incredible how Mark Walker is going. He’s on track to break all records. He previously broke the record for us back in 2010 with 108 wins for the season and he’s nearly there already (106) and we’re not even six months into the season. It’s just incredible.”


Te Akau has previously won the Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m):

2022 – Dynastic (Almanzor)

2021 – On the Bubbles (Brazen Beau)

2020 – Cool Aza Beel (Savabeel) 

2019 – Probabeel (Savabeel) 

2018 – Avantage (Fastnet Rock)

2017 – Melody Belle (Commands)




Rising star Tokyo Tycoon made it four from four with another compelling victory in the $85,000 Fairview Matamata Slipper (Gr. 3, 1200m) on 25 February at Matamata - remaining unbeaten.

After providing Te Akau with its seventh consecutive $1 million Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m) on 21 January at Pukekohe, with a stunning performance, he recorded the stable’s 10th Matamata Slipper victory, after winning it most recently in 2021 with Champion Two-Year-Old Sword of State (Snitzel), who now stands at Cambridge Stud.

Reported to have come through his Karaka Million success with flying colours and continuing to thrive in the month since, Tokyo Tycoon stripped in impeccable order and delivered accordingly.

Content to bide time last in a field of five, he sprang on his rival in the straight before going on to score by two and three-quarter lengths over stable-mate Trobriand (Kermadec) who had won three from three before finishing third to Tokyo Tycoon in the Karaka Million.



“He’s so good,” said jockey Craig Zackey, also successful in the Karaka Million. “He’s developed a new character instinct that he sort of shows off now, but that’s him.”

Zackey, the reigning Champion South African apprentice, headed home following the meeting with hopes of returning in July. He rode seven stakes’ winners in the season, including Prise De Fer (Savabeel) and Synchronize (Savabeel) for Te Akau, while also providing the record-breaking 100th win for trainer Mark Walker when Pure Imagination (Darci Brahma) won on 13 January at Tauranga. 

“It was a good win and he’s a really exciting horse,” said trainer Mark Walker. “It just shows that you don’t have to spend huge money to get a good one and he’s one out of the box.”

Owned by Meadowbank Masters’ Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM) & Te Akau Satono Samurai Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Tokyo Tycoon, who took his earnings to $648,000, was purchased by David Ellis CNZM at the 2022 Karaka Book 1 Sale for $125,000 from the draft of Rich Hill Stud.  



“He looks like a really top horse and seems to do everything right,” Ellis said. “He’s sound, good in the stables, from a great family, and hopefully he continues to improve as he matures.

“It’s a great achievement by everyone involved to have won this race 10 times, and a special thrill to claim the quinella, and just a great reward for all the team that works so hard preparing our horses.” 

Son of sire sensation Deep Impact, Satono Aladdin won the highest rated mile in Japan: Tokyo Yasuda Kinen (Gr. 1, 1600m) when running an incredible 1:31.5.

All About The Coin is by New Zealand bred stallion Starcraft (Soviet Star), a world-class galloper and five-time Group One winner that claimed titles of Champion 3YO in Australia, Champion Sprinter in New Zealand, and Champion Miler in Europe.

The dam-line goes back to Champion Sire Zabeel (Sir Tristram), being out of fourth dam Lady Giselle (Nureyev). 


Te Akau's previous wins in the Matamata Slipper (Gr. 3, 1200m):

2021 – Sword of State (Snitzel)

2020 – Need I Say More (No Nay Never) 

2019 – Yourdeel (Dundeel) – 

2018 – Sword of Osman (Savabeel)  

2016 – Heroic Valour (Fastnet Rock) 

2009 – King’s Ransom (King’s Chapel)  

2008 – Minstrel Court (Danehill Dancer)  

2005 – Darci Brahma (Danehill) 


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