Super Saturday - 4 NZ Wins

Date: 8 Mar 2020

Super Saturday - 4 NZ Wins

Yes it was a super Saturday indeed, with seven wins for Te Akau - four of them in New Zealand - the first kicked off the day in style on Auckland;and Cup Day at Ellerslie ...

Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards produced another masterful performance when presenting Savy Yong Blonk (4 m Savabeel - Ampin, by Pins) to win fresh-up in the $50,000 Royal Descent Stakes (Fillies & Mares, 1600m) on Auckland Cup Day (7 March) at Ellerslie.

Richards elected back off following a terrific second in the City of Auckland Cup (Gr. 3, 2400m) on 1 January at Ellerslie, and had the smart mare cherry-ripe for a mile.

“It's great when it comes together after you've planned for a race a few weeks out,” said Richards, who through the week advanced from 14thto ninth in the TRC Global Trainers' Rankings.

In training for owner-breeders Bill and Jim Gartshore, and extending her record to four wins from 14 starts, including two wins, second, and third, from four starts on the course, Savy Yong Blonk had been terribly unlucky in November at Tauranga, before blitzing her rivals by nearly three lengths over 2200 metres in December as a lead-up to the cup at Ellerslie, and continues going from strength to strength.

Under white-hot rider Opie Bosson, Savy Yong Blonk was happy settling three back on the inner before searching for daylight in the straight and she powered through one of the rail at the 200m to deliver an enormous victory. 

“Jamie had been very happy with her work and when he tells me that one is on, I know it's ready,” Bosson said. “We work well together and he does an amazing job with the horses. 

“This mare just continues to get better. It was the first time I'd ridden her race day since she was a three-year-old and she's certainly got better since then. I think she'll be a pretty good horse next season.”

Winning by one and a half lengths, Savy Yong Blonk ran the 1600 metres in a slick 1:34.8 and looked to have broken 33 for the 600 metres when running down Group One winner Media Sensation (I Am Invincible). 

“She's an improving mare,” Richards said. “I'm really glad we gave her that little freshen-up and a big thanks to Bill and Jim Gartshore who own the mare. They backed our judgement, when we could have gone to the Wellington Cup and run well.”

With a view to upcoming assignments for Savy Yong Blonk, Richards had said previously that he was keen to follow a similar path to former stable-mate Our Abbadean (Lookin' at Lucky): Awapuni Gold (Gr. 2, 2000m), Hawkes Bay Cup (Listed, 2200m), and Travis Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m), in which she finished first, second, first, respectively.

“We'll play it by ear, but if she does go to those races we would then give her a break and she could be good enough for Hastings (Triple Crown) in the spring.

“She's by the right stallion (Savabeel (Zabeel)), from a great family and it's a pleasure to bring horses like this to the races.”

Savy Yong Blonk is the first foal from Ampin (Pins), an unraced half-sister to Group Three winner and Group One placed Strike the Stars (Savabeel), and sister to Victoria Derby Trial winner Adelaide Ace. Her grand-dam, Ambitious (Last Tycoon), was runner-up in the 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) before leaving seven individual winners of 22 races, and third dam, Starcent (Centaine), was Joint Third Top Filly in her three-year-old season. 

“Bill and Jim have been great supporters of our stable,” Richards said. “They bred this mare and raced horses like Flying Fulton (Flying Spur) with us. They're based in Tauranga, and give a lot back to the industry through sponsorship, and good to see their colours winning on a day like this.”

Race sponsor Russell Warwick (Westbury Stud) said it was the third year of the race named in honour of Gerry Harvey's great mare Royal Descent (Redoute's Choice). She was a Group One, Two, and Three winner, of $2.7 million in prize money. 

“We shifted the Westbury Classic to Karaka Million night and my aim was to develop a new fillies and mares race over the Cup Carnival,” Warwick said. “It's the only one specific to them and we hope it will become a black type race. The timing fits well for the fillies and mares, before the Cuddle Stakes and the Breeders' Stakes. We'd like to see a good programme for them without taking on the colts and geldings.”

Bill Gartshore said: “We'd like to thank the sponsor, Jamie (Richards), and the Te Akau team. We can't speak more highly of Jamie. Even without his great record on the track, he keeps us really well informed. Something we haven't been used to, to be fair, and that has certainly helped reignite the enthusiasm that Jim and I have for the game. Jamie treats us, as I'm sure he treats all his owners, extremely well, to the point we feel like family with the Te Akau team. He is working hard and achieving fantastic results for the owners and long may it last.”

Savy Yong Blonk was strapped by Tom Harrison. 

Photo credit -


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