Te Akau Midweek Update

Date: 27 Mar 2024

David writes:

Gee I slept well on Monday night!

I was on the first flight to Melbourne on Saturday morning to attend the Moonee Valley races then home first thing on Sunday - more on that shortly!

What a great weekend, starting with a quinella in the two-year-old race at Riccarton. In an ideal world we would love not to start our two-year-olds against each other, but we had no other option as there are simply no other two-year-old races - at this time of the season those races are scarce, which is unfortunate for the autumn two year olds who show us they are race-ready. When they indicate they are ready to race, it is so important to get this racing experience under their belts before they graduate into their upcoming three year old season.

The winner Nucleozor was bred at Te Akau Stud by us and David and Matthew Peacocke – he looks a pretty exciting horse by Almanzor. The runner up is a horse who will only get better with age - Discretion Rules is also a promising individual and what he is doing as a juvenile is a bonus as we always believed he would mature into a very good three year old.

Our goal for both is the Welcome Stakes in two weeks’ time at Riccarton but longer term, we are looking at the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas with them.

Our other winner in New Zealand and also at Riccarton on Saturday was another horse that we bred called Beau Brummell. He is by Embellish out of Fashion Forward and Karyn and I bred and race him with our great friends Catherine and Glenn Holmes.

Beau Brummell has grown another leg since joining our southern stable - all credit to Mark and Sam, with Hunter and our South Island team, for the terrific job they are doing.

Obviously Australia was firmly on the radar this past weekend too. I headed to Moonee Valley to join Karyn who had flown over the day prior to host owners at a function on the Friday night.

We headed to The Valley with five runners and, on paper, the team looked very strong. It was our biggest Australian race day thus far since we opened our stable late last year in Melbourne - in terms of numbers racing at a major metropolitan meeting in Melbourne. In total we had four Group race contenders.

Prismatic was racing out of his grade in the first but acquitted himself well and he is well positioned to win more races in Australia.

As for Campionessa and Quintessa, what outstanding performances without actually winning.

Campionessa, having beaten two Melbourne Cup winners to seize Group 2 honours in Melbourne last start, was sent out warm favourite. It was a hard watch as every which way Opie went, there was a wall of horses and she had nowhere to go - she was just so unlucky and a good number of racing media on course said to me she was a certainty beaten.

Seeing her fly home for third just reinforced how well she is going, and roll on her next start which is likely to be in the Group 1 Queen of the Turf in Sydney.

Quintessa was only beaten by the bob of a head and if you go back and look at the replay she was held up momentarily at the turn - added to this she both lost a plate and was galloped on during the race so that really made her effort for second even more meritorious.

How good was Imperatriz in defending her Group 1 William Reid crown and recording her 10th Group 1 success - six now in Australia and four in New Zealand.

From her outside draw, she was three and four wide the whole way and to win as she did was an unbelievable performance. She is all heart and courage this mare.

It was the first time I have seen Imperatriz race in Australia, and I was blown away by how the people of Melbourne just absolutely love her. She has an almost 'cult' following and the whole racecourse was adorned with her pictures - a sea of tangerine everywhere as they celebrated the unbeaten "Queen of the Valley".

The photo above is me leaving the track with her trophy and you can see the two jockey statuettes behind me, painted in our colours for her Group 1 wins.

Imperatriz has scored two very special and unique Triple Crowns - when she won her first William Reid last March, she also went on later in the year to win the Group 1 Moir Stakes and Group 1 Manikato Stakes in September and October. She became the first ever horse to make a clean sweep of the Moonee Valley Group 1 spring races - earning her the Group 1 Sprint Triple Crown.

As the Club pointed out - she won the Triple Crown thus for 2023, the calendar year. By defending her William Reid title, it actually means she has made a clean sweep of the Triple Crown again but this time in a season year (August 2023 - July 2024).

Moonee Valley Racing Club also made a special presentation to Berri (as we know Imperatriz) to mark this unique success - it had a trophy specially made and designed, as well as a beautiful dress rug to salute the star she is!

Imperatriz is now rated by TRC Global Rankings as the best sprinter in the world and third best horse in the world!

Well done to our whole Cranbourne team - Mark, assistant trainer Ben, Jason, Laura and all our team - you make us very proud!

You can also see how highly rated Te Akau is in the international Trainers' and also the Owners' rankings too - it makes us so proud to think our owners rate so highly in he world - this is based on black type victories and independently verifies how successful the stable is in these significant races. We could not be more proud for our owners - it's a great time to be involved with the tangerine team!

On Sunday, our Te Akau Australia team took two horses to Bairnsdale for its Cup day. We were so excited to see Hinata win her first start for the stable. Raced by Jo Lindsay of Cambridge Stud, she only recently transferred in to the stable - how good to see the colours of Probabeel winning from the stable again in Australia.

Later in the programme, Midnight Blue only just went down in the Bairnsdale Cup - carrying the top-weight he was beaten a neck by a horse weighted with only 54kgs so it was a mighty effort. This is a horse that we bought from an Inglis Digital Sale and we syndicated him specifically to race from our Cranbourne stable.

We are now flat stick on the farm as we leave on Tuesday for the Sydney sale. I have identified 515 yearlings that I want to inspect, starting on Tuesday afternoon.

Thank you to our new and existing owners for your amazing support - our shares continue to be so popular and we look forward to the careers of our new horses starting to unfold!

Have a great week, we will stay in touch and ... GO THE TANGERINE!!

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