Te Akau Midweek Update

Date: 7 Dec 2022

Te Akau Midweek Update


David writes:


After spending the last week in New South Wales, I stayed an extra night in Auckland upon my return to celebrate our daughter Julia Rose's birthday and I am now back on the farm.

It was a very interesting week inspecting yearlings and all the stallions.  A lot of the stallions have progeny at the Karaka sale so it was nice to see them and get a picture of what each stallion actually looks like in the flesh, especially the freshmen and emerging sires.  It was a special thrill being able to travel to see the horses after three years of restrictions due to Covid.

Easily one of highlights of the week happened while I was having lunch with some friends in Sydney on Saturday and we watched Prise De Fer on our phones win his first Group One race.



I think that is the 83rd Group One winner we have either bred/purchased and trained.  You never get tired of winning a maiden race, let alone a Group One race so it was just an incredibly exciting afternoon.  I thought 'Sabre', as we know him, was brilliantly ridden by Michael McNab who is riding in career best form.  Talking about jockeys, we are all very excited about having our stable jockey Opie Bosson back riding at Te Rapa on Saturday after his suspension.

Back to Australia - I visited Coolmore Stud which is a simply magnificent property as you would imagine (main picture). It was a real buzz to see Avantage, a Fastnet Rock filly I bought from Coolmore for $210,000, with her first foal, a Wootton Bassett filly.  Avantage was the Champion 2YO of her year, and a Karaka 2YO Million winner who won nine Group 1 races in her career.

Avantage is back in foal to I Am Invincible.  She's a terrific mum, and look at her foal (below), she's just a beauty!



I also enjoyed catching up personally with two of the three stallions that I bought as yearlings, that Te Akau trained, that now stand in Australia.  In total there are eight stallions at stud that I identified and purchased as yearlings - and three are in NSW (Xtravagant and Cool Aza Beel) and Queensland (Heroic Valour).

The NSW duo stands at the Kelly family's Newhaven Park Stud - a beautiful 10,000 acre property four hours drive south of Sydney.  The first of these was Xtravagant (or 'Blake' as we knew him, named after Sir Peter Blake) who has just finished serving a full book of mares and has had a very successful start to his stud career (that's him below).



We really enjoyed also seeing the foals by Cool Aza Beel who, like Xtravagant, stands at Newhaven.  Wow were they impressive - he is such an exciting, emerging sire (pictured below).  We had a great 24 hours with John and Sarah Kelly and their son Richard.  It was lovely to inspect their farm and their horses.



Another very interesting 'stop' for me was my visit to Newgate Farm.  It was fascinating going around this operation for the first time.  Henry Field has done an amazing job establishing this stud.  The photo below was taken on top of a hill looking out over the whole property.



This photo below was taken during my visit to Yarraman Park - I am with the champion stallion I Am Invincible.  We really loved our time inspecting the Yarraman Park Stud yearlings and stallions.  Arthur and Harry Mitchell are wonderful hosts.

Te Akau has enjoyed good success with the offspring of this champion sire - with the likes of Champion 3YO of the Year and dual Group 1 winner Imperatriz, stakes' performer I Choose You, King Arthur in Singapore and others.



Other studs we visited included: Fernrigg Farm, Widden Stud, Kitchwin Hills, Kia Ora Stud,  Strawberry Hill, Segenhoe Stud, Sledmere Stud and Bhima Stud.  We saw hundreds of yearlings that are going to the Magic Millions' sale which we are looking forward to attending in January.  Overall, a very successful week.

This morning at Te Akau Stud, we had our first draft of the mixed aged ewes and sent 250 lambs to Wilson Hellaby.  Next week we will get the lambs that weren't quite ready from the five year old ewes and will have a second pick from them.

The lamb price, like the beef price is dropping each week but we are still getting $8/kg which is not the end of the world.

I've never seen so much grass as what we have on the farm at the moment.  It's great to see all the hard work from our team here at Te Akau Stud paying off.  The farm just looks amazing.

We are all really looking forward to Waikato Cup Day at Te Rapa on Saturday where we have some good chances and the team at the Waikato Racing Club only needs a fine day for it to be one heck of a success.

Best of luck to all our owners with runners this week ...

and ...




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