Te Akau Dominant at Riccarton

Date: 25 Aug 2023

Te Akau Dominant at Riccarton


NZ Racing News reports:


Te Akau made their presence known in the south on Thursday, with the Matamata operation’s southern-based horses claiming a hat-trick on the seven-race card at Riccarton Park Synthetic.

Sam Bergerson, who trains in partnership with Mark Walker, travelled to Christchurch to oversee the Te Akau runners which are among 10 based in their Riccarton barn, a figure Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM said will be added to as spring racing and New Zealand Cup week approach in November.

Navalha (Sebring) kicked off Te Akau’s hat-trick in the CJC Stallion Tender Open Now Rating 75 (1600m), the son of Sebring travelled near the tail of the small field throughout under a patient McNab and showed a dashing sprint in the home straight to score by two-and-a-half lengths to Namibia Miss (NZ) (Shocking).

“It was a good win and a lovely ride of Michael’s,” said co-trainer Mark Walker.

“He’s going well on the synthetic tracks and a horse that everyone likes in the stable. He’s so quiet and we’ll continue on with his campaign down south.”

Navalha was acquired by John Galvin for A$27,500 from the Inglis Digital Sale in 2020, and the Fortuna Racing Manager has enjoyed a successful run on the all-weather tracks recently with several of their syndicated horses.

“It has advantages, not just for Navalha. We’ve won twice with Angel Wings (NZ) (Pat’s Victory), Hayate (NZ) (Maurice), and now twice with Navalha, and right across the whole Te Akau stable they’ve had a lot of success,” Galvin said.

“The reason we’ve gone to the synthetic these last couple of months is because he doesn’t handle wet tracks.

“He gets back and shown to need a trip, so getting back to a mile today was just perfect for him.

Galvin noted Navalha may be aimed at more lucrative races during his campaign in the south, with the Listed Sothys Spring Classic (2000m) a potential target.

“He ran down there (Riccarton) last year and actually won down the chute (1200m) on turf, so he’ll either pursue further synthetic options or race on turf once the weather conditions and footing improves,” he said.

“He’s also racing like he might get 2000 metres and the Spring Classic towards the end of October could suit, as will other options.”

A calm front-running ride by McNab aboard Sorcha (NZ) (Burgundy) produced Te Akau’s second victory for the meeting, cruising to a two-and-a-quarter length romp in the $17,000 Entain/NZB Insurance Pearl Series (1200m).

The four-year-old Burgundy mare flew from barrier one to control proceedings and travelled nicely into the straight, before kicking away in impressive fashion to ease down for a two-and-a-quarter length romp.

“It was another lovely ride by Michael, controlling the speed beautifully and she quickened up for a nice win,” Walker said.

“She was very unlucky not to break through in her first preparation and a great incentive and prize money when picking up the Pearl Series Bonus as well.”

Sorcha is raced by Paul Martin alongside breeders Glenn and Catherine Holmes and Te Akau Stud, and the mare is a full sister to Cu Chulainn, a stakes-placed two-year-old last season in the Listed Champagne Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton.

Rounding off a stellar day for the stable was Cote de Beaune (NZ) (Burgundy), who cemented the hat-trick in the Vale Lorraine Anderton Rating 75 (1200m) also giving McNab a treble for the day.

The race commemorated the life of Lorraine Anderton, who sadly passed earlier this month while still maintaining her significant role at White Robe Lodge alongside husband and Racing Hall of Fame member Brian.

“All of us at Te Akau Racing would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Anderton family after the passing of Lorraine. She was the matriarch at White Robe Lodge, a great wife and mother for Brian and the children, and will be greatly missed,” said Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM.

Another progeny of Cambridge Stud’s late stallion Burgundy, Cote de Beaune emulated the run of Navalha in sitting patiently off a hot tempo set by O’Jessica, but picked up the field at the 300m with ease to run away by four-lengths.

“It’s really good to see him string two (wins) together, after having an indifferent season prior, but I’m a firm believer in getting horses to try and grow in confidence, which he did following his resuming win, and that confidence and a change of environment in the South Island and the horse is back to his best,” Walker said.

“Michael summed up the speed of the race perfectly, as he did all day, and given what he did earlier in his career I can’t see why Cote de Beaune won’t continue to go on with it.”

Cote de Beaune had a successful three-year-old season producing three wins including a Gr.3 Cambridge Breeder’s Stakes (1200m) victory, and has kicked off his five-year-old campaign well with two wins in succession after scoring on the Cambridge Synthetic last start.

The gelding was another Riccarton victor bred by Te Akau Stud in conjunction with former Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards, and is raced by the Te Akau Grand Cru Racing Partnership.

“We’ve had a couple bred at the stud win today, with Sorcha and Cote de Beaune, and both by Burgundy, who we bought as a yearling, probably the fastest horse we’ve ever trained at Te Akau, and won five stakes races before proving a success at stud,” said Ellis.

“Every time I see progeny of Burgundy win, I’m excited but also reminded of what a tragic loss to the industry given his premature death.”


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