Te Akau Midweek Update

Date: 13 Mar 2024

Te Akau Midweek Update

David writes:

There has been a lot of talk by media and other commentators/observers about our decision to run Imperatriz in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on Saturday. 

I thought she went a fantastic race. She had to give the whole field weight, included in that a talented 3YO in Cylinder (with just 51.kgs v. her 58kgs).  Some reckon also that possibly also, being on the part of the track that she was, it was a little bit slower there than the outside. Nonetheless, we were all very proud of how Imperatriz raced to finish in second. There is nothing wrong at all in running second in a A$1.5 million race!

I think there words of one of the most respected form analysts in the business underline my thinking - Dan O'Sullivan still rated Imperatriz the highest of all  'Oldest Horses - Sprinters (up to 1350m)' running on Saturday, and above the Newmarket winner Cylinder who was 'superbly placed in this race on his best form with just 51.5kgs' - stating:

"Much of the narrative in the leadup to the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap was about the challenge facing Imperatriz with 58kg, and ultimately, it was the handicap weights that had the final say in this race. Cylinder carried 6kg less than Imperatriz relative to weight-for-age, beating her home by 1.3 lengths. Normalised to weight-for-age, Imperatriz produced the best performance in the race with her 105.3 rating compared to Cylinder’s 103.5, but the weight difference saw a clear margin in favour of Cylinder at the finish. 

"In reality, the superstar mare couldn't have done much more. She improved on her 104 rating win in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes and ran just 0.3 lengths below her 106 rating win in the Group 1 Champions Sprint win over the same track and distance last spring. Even if she ran to her two 108 career peaks from wins at Moonee Valley during the Spring, Cylinder still shades her at the line by virtue of his big weight advantage."

Imperatriz has her next start at Moonee Valley on Saturday week, and I am looking forward to returning to The Valley - it will be an exciting day with four Te Akau runners in stakes' races - joining Imperatriz will be our other Group girls Campionessa, Quintessa and Certainly.

So, it will be an exciting race day in Melbourne for our stable and we will have quite a few owners travelling to be on course too!

I would like to thank the many studs and private owners in Australia and New Zealand that have given us horses to train. We have many horses currently being broken in, that have been kept by various studs and owners to race and we are very proud to have the support that they are giving us.

On Saturday it was great to see I Choose You win well at Trentham. In fact, she broke the track record!  This mare is by I am Invincible, which is the same sire as Imperatriz. All credit to our New Zealand trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson, who have given her the time that she has needed to reach full maturity - her owners have been very patient with her too - we know she has ability so it was a terrific result.

I Choose You was actually part of our Magic Millions' Filly Partnership that year - and we have three final shares only now available in our 2024 partnership - two beautifully bred fillies, one by Snitzel and one by Savabeel, both richly bred and looking to have a very bright future.  We know how well our 2023 partnership's two fillies have performed in their first season of racing with Captured By Love and The Victress already winners, the former a dual Group 2 and Group 3 winner and Group 1 performer too!

If you are keen to be involved in two quality fillies, who carry the types of outstanding pedigrees that will enhance their residual value, email Karyn now.

I also wish to salute one of our wonderful veteran campaigners who raced his final race on Saturday at Ellerslie - Prise De Fer could really be called a 'war horse' - he just loved his racing and probably one of the greatest thrills Karyn and I have had in recent years, was seeing "Sabre" as we know him, win his richly deserved Group 1 when he prevailed in the Captain Cook Stakes late in 2022 - that's his ownership group in the main photo that day at Trentham.

It seems a long time ago when I paid $100,000 for Sabre at Karaka (2017 in fact) and since then he has raced 53 times, recording 11 wins - he was 12-times runner up (often in Group 1's) and notched up 12 other top five placings too.  In his career he won $951,200 for his ownership team who just loved this horse and we are thrilled that he will retire a happy, healthy and very sound horse.

You may have noticed that his rider Jonathan Riddell was wearing black arm bands - this was to honour one of Prise De Fer's loyal owners who sadly passed away a few days prior.  Peter Wagner just loved his racing, and literally just days before, had sold his business and was looking forward to racing more horses in his retirement, he told Karyn just two days before he suffered a serious stroke. That's Peter second from the left in the main photo, enjoying a win at Te Rapa!

To Peter's family and friends, who came to Ellerslie to so poignantly salute and farewell the man and his horse, it was an honour to write a eulogy from the team for Peter's service on Sunday - we will always remember him with great fondness.

Another special moment in the weekend was to see Santino, a horse we purchased at the Inglis Ready2Race sale, win so determinedly at Kranji in the tangerine.  He is a horse that injured himself seriously about a year ago and to see him win, after being so devotedly nurtured back to health was quite emotional.  At one stage the veterinary specialists were not sure he could be saved, so that is really a win to celebrate too, and a credit to everyone involved in his care.

This Saturday we have horses racing at Trentham and Tauranga in New Zealand. We have one of the favourites in the New Zealand Oaks, a filly called Qali Al Farrasha.  She has drawn well (6) and will have stable rider Opie Bosson aboard. This filly is raced by Te Akau Stud and David and Matthew Peacocke. We actually raced Nucleonic (Burgundy), this filly's mother together and are enjoying breeding from her.

We also have a very promising colt by Savabeel called Altari in the two-year-old race. He was a stylish winner on debut and he too has drawn to advantage (3) and likewise has Opie's services. 

The Group 2 Wellington Guineas is also on Saturday's Trentham programme and the stable has a trio of representatives - Tokyo Tycoon (1), My Lips Are Sealed (3) and Vivacious (10) all engaged in the 1400m event, while Petrucci takes her place in the Listed Lightning Handicap in the famous Trelawney Stud colours.

Good luck to all our owners with runners on Saturday at Trentham and Tauranga. Sunday will wrap the weekend with racing in Otago and also Australia where Prismatic contests the A$125,000 Yarra Valley Cup in Victoria, then off to Singapore we go for Kranji racing. Before then of course we are racing at Matamata today and Ashburton on Thursday!  We also see Lord Dynastic step out at Caulfield later today.

All the yearlings that we purchased at the sale, are in various stages of their early education and will start coming into the stable for further education in the next two weeks. The reports that I am getting are hugely promising and we are still selling shares everyday so it won't be long until only the 'final' horses remain - remember who some of those have been?

Last to sell - Imperatriz, Avantage, Cool Aza Beel, Tokyo Tycoon and others, all amongst the very last to be sold in their year!  

If you are interested coming into a nice yearling, feel free to give me a ring on +64 21 925 151. You will be made to feel incredibly welcome, so check out our website now - we have some really nice shares in some stunning yearlings that are still for sale.

What an exciting time it is to be part of New Zealand Racing with terrific boosts in prizemoney. And in Australia there is on average a A$1 million race every four days so it is a fantastic time to be part of this great industry. The fun that I see people having from winning races, it just changes their lives completely, while bringing a whole new friends' circle into their lives too.

Another brilliant aspect to racing, which can be overlooked, is that it involves your whole family if you want it to - children, adult and otherwise, grandchildren, siblings - so many people will join you for the 'fun of the ride'!  Racing really is something you can easily enjoy together with family, friends, and work colleagues!

So far this year we have bought 50 yearlings and it’s a massive job syndicating them. But it is one that Karyn and I really enjoy doing, and our Racing manager Reece Trumper has done an amazing job helping us too and we love this time of year - who will be the next stars?

We keep getting enough rain for the farm, and the grass is really growing! We probably have more grass for the middle of March than we ever have had, and the stock is doing extremely well and really putting on weight.

The price for store cattle has gone up dramatically and we are very lucky that we don’t have many left to buy because right now the margins are not very favourable at all. We are selling our average steer for $2,000 and we are having to pay $1,150 - $1,250 for replacements, so it certainly is not going to be a vintage year for cattle. But I am confident that later in the year the price will start to climb again.

My advice for dairy farmers is to rear every calf that you can because they are going to be worth a lot of money going forward and you are going to be well paid for the extra work that it takes.

Karyn will return to New Zealand after speaking at the VRC members' night on Thursday, she feels it's always an honour to be asked to speak to gatherings like this and although she says she has 'retired' from public speaking, I am not so sure.  In a couple of weeks she will speak at the Pohlen Hospital fund raising lunch at Matamata too, and I know giving her time to assist charities and racing clubs is something very close to her heart.

Best of luck to all our owners again with runners this week at Matamata, Ashburton, Tauranga, Trentham, Wingatui, Australia and Singapore - and ...



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