Sires' Produce to Cap Dominant Season for Te Akau 2YOs

Date: 2 Apr 2021

Sires' Produce to Cap Dominant Season for Te Akau 2YOs


Raceform's Richard Edmunds reports:


Sires' Produce Stakes to cap dominant season for Te Akau two-year-olds


Two-year-olds from the all-conquering Te Akau team have been an unstoppable force on New Zealand racetracks this season, and despite weather concerns over the coming days, Saturday's Gr. 1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes could be more of the same.

Te Akau's premiership-dominating trainer Jamie Richards has won 19 races with two-year-olds this season. Of the 10 black-type juvenile races staged in New Zealand so far this term, the powerful operation has won six.

Avonallo kicked things off in the Listed Welcome Stakes in November, followed by Imperatriz in the Gr. 2 Eclipse Stakes, Quattro Quinta in the Listed Wellesley Stakes, On The Bubbles in the Karaka Million (with stablemates second, third and fourth), and Sword Of State in the Gr. 3 Waikato Stud Slipper and last month's Gr. 1 Sistema Stakes.



“It's been another great season with our two-year-olds,” Richards told RaceForm. “It's something that David (Ellis, Te Akau principal) and the team put a real emphasis on when we go to the sales. We know that a lot of our owners would love to enjoy the thrill of racing sooner rather than later, so we're very mindful of trying to identify the right sorts of horses who will come to hand quickly and deliver that excitement and return for our owners. The way this season has unfolded has been very satisfying.”

On The Bubbles and debut winner I Wish I Win give Richards another powerful hand for Saturday's $225,000 Sires' Produce Stakes - a race he has won three times in a row with Melody Belle, Avantage and Yourdeel. It was not run in 2020 due to New Zealand's Covid-19 lockdown.

“We had a terrific group of horses lined up for the Group One down there at Awapuni this Saturday, but there have just been a few moving parts as we count down through this week,” Richards said. “The primary concern is the weather forecast, and how much rain is going to fall on that track in the coming days. We'll be keeping a close eye on that.”

The Awapuni track was downgraded to slow 8 on Wednesday morning after 22mm of rain over the previous 24 hours, forcing the high-class Sword Of State to be withdrawn from Sires' Produce Stakes contention. The son of Snitzel had been the pre-post favourite for the race.

“We'll possibly look at Sydney for the Sires' Produce Stakes at Randwick next week, or we'll look at giving him a break and just pulling up stumps for the preparation,” Richards said.

On The Bubbles might be better placed to cope with a testing track this weekend. Since his Karaka Million heroics in January, the son of Brazen Beau has had to settle for minor placings behind his star stablemate Sword Of State in the Slipper and the Sistema Stakes. But Richards has been pleased with his progress since then, and also pointed to his impressive debut victory at Awapuni earlier this season.

“He ran a good race for second in the Sistema last start, and he seems to be improving as we get deeper into this preparation,” Richards said. “He did some nice work this (Tuesday) morning. I'm not 100% sure how he'll go on rain-affected ground, but I get the impression he'll get through it okay.

“He's made this trip before and is a previous winner at the course, so he knows what he's in for this weekend and has a few things in his favour.”

I Wish I Win is also a previous winner at Awapuni, producing an impressive performance on debut there on March 6. Bred and raced by Waikato Stud, the son of Savabeel has since added a third trial victory to his perfect record.

“This is a big step up, but he can't do a lot more than what he's done to date,” Richards said. “He was unbeaten in two trials in February, then scored a very good victory on debut at Awapuni before going back to the trials for another win last week.

“I think this horse is a very exciting prospect, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do in this sort of company.”

Proven Group performers Savy Yong Blonk and Prise De Fer will line up in Saturday's Gr. 2 City of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup, while talented three-year-old Seajetz will attempt to bounce back from a mystifying last-start failure in the Gr. 3 Higgins Concrete Manawatu Classic.

“I was rapt with Savy Yong Blonk's resuming run in the Royal Descent Stakes at Ellerslie (second, beaten by three-quarters of a length by Levante),” Richards said. “She's gone the right way since then, and she gets in very well under the set weights and penalties' conditions of this race. This is a race that we've had picked out for her for some time.



“However, she is a mare that wants good ground, so she's another one that we're on a bit of a weather watch with this week.

“Prise De Fer ran in the Japan Trophy last Saturday (finishing fifth but only 0.6 lengths from the winner), and we're going to back him up in the Awapuni Gold Cup - purely because of a lack of suitable options. I wouldn't want to run him in the Easter Handicap, where he would have to carry too much weight.

“So we'll give him one more run this weekend, and then he can have a nice break and we'll start getting him ready for the spring.

“I was extremely disappointed with the performance by Seajetz at Tauranga a couple of weeks ago (eighth in a 1600-metre Rating 74 on March 20). Going into that meeting, I thought he was one of our best chances all day. Whether he found the track a bit firm, or whatever else the reason might have been, I'm really not sure.



“But his form before that race was very good, and this is a target that we've been building towards with him. He's been working nicely leading into this.”


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