Te Akau Midweek Update

Date: 5 Jun 2024

Te Akau Midweek Update

David writes:

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for the whole Te Akau team with winners across our stables in three countries, yearling inspections and new purchases, a southern hemisphere sale record - our feet have hardly touched the ground!

However that’s the way we like it, you’d hate to go rusty!

Let’s start with the last week and what a week it has been on the Gold Coast! 

Firstly we saw our 10-time Group 1 winning mare Imperatriz (main picture) go under the hammer and sell for A$6.6 million (approx. NZ$7.1 million) - a new southern hemisphere record for a broodmare sale. The future ownership battle came down to two in the final stages of the auction conducted by Kiwi identity Steve Davis, with international breeding giants Yulong and Coolmore trading bids.

Sold successfully to Yulong Investment and partners, it was a magical, as well as emotional, result for her owners. I bought Imperatriz at the Magic Millions' sale for A$360,000 and she also won over $7 million on the track - her future as a broodmare is bright.

Just before the sale, Imperatriz had also been named Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association 2024 Champion Racehorse, a huge accolade when you think of the outstanding horses bred out of the Hunter Valley.

Imperatriz left Te Akau Stud yesterday so it was a somewhat sad day for our Te Akau Stud team, led by Deane. Especially for Faith who has been Berri's constant companion since she retired from racing.  Faith even took her iPad into Berri's paddock with her in the dark, so the mare could watch herself live being sold!  What amazing people we have in our team, both farm and stables, Karyn and I just think the world of them all!

We will all await the news of which stallion Imperatriz will visit with great interest, and of course this time next year we will be looking forward to the arrival of her first foal!

Following the broodmare sale, I began to re-inspect the yearlings we had shortlisted, together with team, which included Marcus Corban, Reece Trumper and our senior veterinarian Dr Douglas Black.  

Over the past two days of the yearling sale I bought three fillies and a colt. The colt, who was the top lot of the sale, was completely sold in under 24 hours.  Being a half brother by Zoustar to our Group 1 winner Move To Strike, there was understandably a lot of interest in him.

Our Written Tycoon filly (Lot 1353) was a steal at A$140,000 - a beautiful individual who ticked off all the requirements we look for in fine fashion - she was outstanding buying. 

There is an enormous amount of speed in this filly's pedigree and that is backed up by her physical appearance: short-coupled, well developed muscularly, and a very racy look to her. She’s strong and athletic and we rated her as one of the better two-year-old fillies in the sale, with plenty of leg. She's the type we expect could develop into a Christmas two-year-old and train on up to a mile as a three-year-old.

This filly actually reminds me of Captured By Love, our multiple Group winning 2YO of this season, who we also purchased at the Gold Coast sale.  She’s a rich chestnut in colour and there are plenty of two year old winners in the family.

We also bought a precocious looking Cool Aza Beel filly, Lot 1294.  I really rate these Cool Aza Beel yearlings, he is leaving strong, robust types.  We have broken in a yearling filly and colt thus far, and the team cannot speak more highly of them, he's a very exciting young sire.

This filly is out of the winning Redoute’s Choice mare Fiction and is a granddaughter of the extremely talented Polar Success who of course won a Golden Slipper.

There are still shares available in both of these fillies so make sure to check them out here and call me on +64 21 925151 if you would like to chat about a share or email [email protected]:


It’s a great time to be involved with racing with so many initiatives continuing to be announced in New Zealand such as The Kiwi, the new slot race which we bought a slot in, increased stakes, and the boosted Pearl Bonus Series - just a handful of many examples since Entain became part of our racing landscape.

Just today we had our second Pearl Bonus winner in a week - Bella Voce followed on from Mitre Peak last week when winning a $17,000 maiden race.  However their additional bonus was another $20,000 for their owners - a Pearl Series' double, and an excellent result for their owners.  That’s why we always nominate the fillies we buy or breed for the series.

Speaking of doubles there have been plenty in the past fortnight - it started with Cambridge, followed by Riccarton, and then another two winners the next day at Te Rapa.  Singapore followed closely with stable stalwart Axel one of two winning for Donna and our Kranji-based team.

Pokuru Gold, who we train for Ian Farrelly, has also created his own double winning his past two starts and now remaining unbeaten with three wins from three starts.  His win at Te Rapa brought up Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson's 150th win for the season, and we could not be more proud of these stellar results.  Thank you to Mark, Sam, Nicole, Reece and our whole team for your passion in everything you do!

Another exciting result was seeing our stable apprentice Tayla Melvin score her first race day victory aboard Devoted.  Congratulations to Tayla, a very hard working member of our team!  It is great to have our apprentices in winning form, and congratulations also to Jessica Allen, while one of our other apprentices Niranjan Parmar is also celebrating a milestone season. He leads the Apprentice Jockey Premiership by five wins with 47 wins, which also places him 14th on the overall table.

Prismatic added to Te Akau's season of trans Tasman success with a superb 3.5 length victory in a maiden hurdle at Hamilton in Victoria, while Leaderboard and The Mighty Spar jumped professionally for runner up placings in their jumping assignments, the former having been a stylish winner the start prior. 

Currently, the construction of our next 40 boxes is underway at Cranbourne and with just the 20 boxes currently, our Australian stable has really had a stellar first season, with one of the best winning strike rates you will see in Melbourne.  Well done Mark, Ben and our Australian team!

After celebrating a winning treble today with Bella Voce, Akenehi (in training for Trelawney Stud) and Polly Plum, our New Zealand winning tally for the season stands at 157 wins - 21 Group/Listed and $7.8 million in prize money in New Zealand alone and an outstanding 5.8 strike rate.

Our total stake money won for our owners is now just over $16 million across our three stables, a result we are all very proud to achieve for our loyal supporters.

I wanted to mention too the strike rate of our South Island stable which is running red-hot - thank you to Hunter and our southern team, and also Ashley who headed south to lead the team during Hunter's break.

While celebrating the efforts of our stable and stud teams, we also recognise our incredible hard-working business and administrative team - our top class racing manager Reece; our wonderful business manager Jenny and assistant Anita, and our 'life-saving' personal assistant Shanti - we are so appreciative of all you do for us and the whole operation.  

With our dynamo stable manager Lena now on maternity leave we formally welcome Lauren to the team and are enjoying having her involved too. Chihiro in Singapore has been a loyal team member too and her multi-tasking capabilities include trackwork riding as well as admin!!

A very special mention too, to Luke and Will our Te Akau farm managers for all they do - Luke has worked for me since he left school - he is an institution!  Michelle and Lynne are also vital cogs in keeping the wheel ever-turning too.

Huge gratitude to you all!

Late last month, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing issued a new report detailing what racing contributes to the economy. While we always knew how immense this contribution was, it’s great to have the figures back up by independent, commissioned research.

In 2022/23, the New Zealand Racing industry generated total direct spending of $1,385.6 million. However, the flow-on effects linked to this expenditure increased the size of the industry's value-added contribution to almost $1.9 billion. 

It’s a report well worth reading and sharing, and you can find it published under the new section on our website.

This past week we also read very sad news - the retirement of Joe Walls, from his role as Chairman of New Zealand Bloodstock.  Formerly the company’s head auctioneer, to label Joe as an industry legend would actually something of an understatement.  Joe is a man who has inspired and guided the careers of too many people to name.  

I first met Joe in 1983 when he came out to Te Akau Stud for the first time to inspect two foals I had on the farm. 

Joe knows more about pedigrees than anyone I have ever met, he is a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge - and he is easily the best judge of a horse I have ever met too.

I salute you Joe and hope you enjoy spending increased time with Wendy and your much loved family - you are quite simply, an industry icon.

This week at Te Akau Stud we have been very busy on the farm, including scanning the mixed aged ewes. With 172% the result, this means only about 80 ewes from 2,500 are not in lamb. Not long now until the lambing season is in full flight.

While it was a ‘short week’ for many with King’s Birthday, it is as busy as ever for us - our Sydney yearlings have entered the stable for the first time after being broken in, and our new Gold Coast yearlings head home in coming days.  

It was also good to see the racing industry acknowledged in the King’s Birthday honours - well done to Tony McGovern and Noel McCutcheon on their recognition.

Have a good weekend ahead - and all the best to our owners with runners … GO THE TANGERINE!


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