Te Akau Midweek Update
12 Jun 2019
Last week I had one of the most interesting trips I have had for a very long time.
After attending five days of the Magic Millions’ National Yearling sale on the Gold Coast, Dr Douglas Black, Joe Walls and I went to stay at Newhaven Park, which is about a four-hour drive south of Sydney at Boorowa.
Flying into Sydney, we were picked up by Newhaven’s Katherine Sheridan, their very successful Marketing Manager. Newhaven really went above and beyond making us feel welcome!
As we were making the drive south on the journey, I was just staggered at how dry the countryside was. I just felt so sad for all the farmers. Newhaven Park has been owned by the Kelly family for over 100 years, and it is now run by John Kelly, who is the fourth generation to manage the farm. John Kelly is regarded to be one of the best farmers in Australia.
Named after the racehorse Newhaven, who won the Melbourne Cup in 1896, this magnificent property is made up of 10,000 acres, and is home to a horse who needs very little introduction, the mighty Xtravagant (main picture and below).
Joe, Doug and I were able to view all the Xtravagant foals from this season – and we were just blown away by what we saw.
Newhaven runs between eight to eleven foals in each paddock, with the average size being around 40 acres of beautiful rolling country, which is just perfect for growing young horses.
It was also so exciting to see Xtravagant – he looks just amazing and has let down into a magnificent stallion.
Speaking to Australian breeders at the sale, they are very impressed with their Xtravagant weanlings. The many we saw at Newhaven certainly looked amazing! Joe, Doug and I all agreed they were as good a line-up of weanlings as we had seen for some time, and I was just over the moon when John Kelly said that he was going to give Te Akau a couple to train.
We had a beautiful evening around an open fire, talking to John and his wife Sarah in their stunning home. It was a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable 24 hours.
I can still remember the first time I saw Xtravagant as a yearling at Rich Hill Stud – he was just as good as it gets. As a racehorse, we had plenty of highs and some lows but on his day, he was outstanding. Three of his wins were won by a total of 24 lengths! As a three-year-old, he raced in August, September, October, November December, January, February and March before going to win the Group 3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes at his last start in April.
It was just so satisfying to see “Blake” as we know him, a horse that we bought as a yearling, who also gave our New Zealand trainer Jamie Richards his first Group 1 winner, go to stud and leave such magnificent foals. A HUGE thrill!
Speaking of thrills, on my way home from Auckland Airport I listened to Richard of Yorke win race number 96 for Jamie and our team this season. This total includes seven Group 1 wins and 18 black type wins, meaning that Te Akau has won the most prize money of any stable in New Zealand, as well as winning Group Races on both sides of the Tasman.
This is truly an outstanding achievement.
And the success continues internationally too for Te Akau – as Champion Singapore Trainer Mark Walker had a great a great day on Sunday by celebrating his 47th birthday with a trifecta at Kranji in a two year old event. This fantastic birthday present increases Mark’s lead in the Singapore Leadership.
As you can see, Mark Walker is in front by 12 wins – an unbelievable performance! Well done Mark, this is a remarkable achievement.
The Contributer filly we purchased in the Gold Coast sold in less than ten minutes. A massive congratulations to our owners who have reinvested and taken a share in this stunning filly. You really had to be quick, and I would like to apologize to our owners who unfortunately missed out.
However, we do have a filly that still has shares available. She was passed in at Karaka and I have just purchased her privately. She was Lot 895, a Proisir filly out of Sarsarun. We have just broken this filly in, and I can tell you something for nothing – she is very smart, and the team who rides her is very impressed. She will win races for sure I’d say!
She cost $50,000 +GST and there is only 10% remaining in this filly. Again, be quick to contact me to avoid the disappointment if you would like a share in this filly.
Wherever I seem to go in life, I am surprised at how many people enjoy reading our updates, especially about the news on the farm!
Well, this morning I was ‘Farmer Brown’! I started in the office at 4.30am until daylight, and then I watched our Equine Manager Enzo Di Leoni Ferrari work our young horses. From 8.30am to 9.30am, it was time to hit the gym before making my way down to the sheep yards.
We had all the ewes (2,700 of them) in the yards, and we drafted off the lightest 300. They were then drenched and will be given preferential treatment while the balance went down to the lease block that I farm for three to four weeks.
We start lambing on 10 July so will bring them back home a week before to crutch and vaccinate them before stocking them on the hills to lamb. Tomorrow, we will be weighing cattle and by the end of the week, everything will be set and stocked for winter.
While I was in Australia for seven days, we had a total of 100mls of rain at the Stud. It is safe to say that the drought is well and truly over.
We are very lucky to be going into winter with a terrific amount of feed, and the farm has never looked better! You can really see the fertiliser working now.
In the meantime yesterday Karyn arrived home from Singapore and the United Kingdom – she had taken a fun group of owners on a trip to our Singapore stable and went racing with them there. In Britain she was wedding dress shopping with our daughter Lydia who lives there. She is coming home to get married in February – and I am told they found and bought THE dress! So they are very happy!
There isn’t much racing or trialling this month but this is still a fairly important time of the year. It is when we educate all our young horses, and the older horses begin getting fit for the next season.
I am predicting a huge season coming up for Te Akau Racing in both Australia and New Zealand – and a wonderful six months of the seaosn yet to run in Singapore too.
Go the Tangerine!