Te Akau Chasing an Eclipse

Date: 31 Dec 2022

Te Akau Chasing an Eclipse


NZ Racing News reports:


Premiership pacemaker Mark Walker is poised to dominate next month's DoubleTree By Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) as he bids to stretch Te Akau Racing's winning streak in the two-year-old feature to seven straight years.

Walker will continue to build into the Pukekohe showpiece on January 21 with key runners at Te Rapa on Sunday and Matamata next Tuesday, suggesting the stable was likely to have at least six runners, possibly even more.

Leading chances Trobriand and Balance Of Power will contest Sunday's Gr.2 Carlaw Park Eclipse Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa alongside Talisker, another who could yet force his way into the field with a bold performance.

TAB bookmakers have unbeaten Kermadec colt Trobriand at $2.80 for the Eclipse Stakes, ahead of Balance Of Power at $8 and Talisker at $15 in a market headed by the Stephen Marsh-trained Ulanova.

“Trobriand is an unassuming sort of horse. He only does what he has to but he just knows where the winning post is,” Walker said.

“His effort the other day was really good. He'll eat up the 1200m too. He's got a fantastic nature. You wouldn't even know he's a colt; he's so quiet. He gets the blinkers on for this one because, as I said, he's just so laidback.

“I talked with Opie (Bosson, jockey) and he agreed that it was the right time to put them on. He just seems to know how to win so he's probably the pick of ours, but you wouldn't be surprised if any of them won on the day.”

Balance Of Power and Talisker go into the race as maiden gallopers but Walker was expecting both to prove competitive.

“The blinkers also go on Balance Of Power just to help him focus a bit more. He just hit a flat spot at Pukekohe last time and that will just sharpen him up and make him concentrate a bit more,” he said.

“He's going really well but he's got the makings of a lovely three-year-old so what he's doing now is a bonus. Talisker was really unlucky at Te Rapa at his first start. If he'd got the right run, he would have been right in it and you take the formline through Tokyo Tycoon, it's pretty strong form.”

Trobriand, Balance Of Power, Tokyo Tycoon, Rhetorical, Believe In Magic and Viva Vienna all look assured of starts in the Karaka Million, with Valentine, Never Forgotten, Talisker, She Turns Heads and Cyclonic King all not much further down the entry order, the latter pair both set to press their causes at Matamata on Tuesday.

“The good thing is they are all horses that have had that little bit of a break. None of them are going through on their whole first preparation, which is quite important,” Walker said.

“Some have done a bit early, had that bit of a break and now coming back up at the right time. Tokyo Tycoon and Viva Vienna have both came through Boxing Day well and Rhetorical is the one who will take the most improvement out of that race.

“She had a really good blow. We were behind the eight-ball with her after she developed a foot abscess after Riccarton and she'll improve a heap.

“We're going to have a big hand in the race. At least six and maybe even seven or eight, depending how the two-year-olds go at Matamata next week. And who are we to tell an owner not to have a crack at a million-dollar race?”

Walker has a strong hand in Sunday's New Year's Day meeting with two-time Group One winner Imperatriz a $5 second favourite behind Levante in the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m).

“She's going well. The draw (barrier 10 of 11) is a bit of a sticking point but there's a ton of speed in there so the field could break up a bit and she could end up midfield,” Walker said.

“She's got a terrific record at Te Rapa and fresh-up but I've got huge respect for Levante and Dragon Leap. They are both very good horses but she's capable of anything on her day.”

Walker has 18 entries for Te Rapa, including Dynastic in the Gr.2 Jamieson Park Auckland Guineas (1600m), Skew Wiff, Family Ties and Safura in the Gr.2 Elsdon Park Royal Stakes (2000m), Self Obsession and Aromatic in the Gr.3 Windsor Park Stud Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2400m) and Campionessa, Belle En Rouge and the balloted Shepherd's Delight in the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m).

“Dynastic is a different horse since he's been gelded and I think he'll race really well,” Walker said.

“Skew Wiff has come through the Eight Carat Classic really well but the thing with her is just her barrier manners. You just don't her chances until after 50m but Opie got her out of the gate really well the other day. Family Ties closed off the Eulogy Stakes well the other day and Safura has been going really well and has been unlucky not to have won one by now.

“Back on top of the ground, I'd expect a much better run from Self Obsession and Aromatic has done a great job to come along like she has, considering she ran in an Opunake Cup in July.

“If Belle En Rouge had jumped away better the other day, she would have been right in it and back on top of the ground is the key to her. Campionessa is going along nicely too.”


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