Te Akau Monday Update

Date: 24 Aug 2020

Te Akau Monday Update

David writes:

Karyn and I had a change from the farm scenery last week, as we spent quality time with family in Queenstown. It was just beautiful! The weather was great and we had such a relaxing time - what a lovely place to go to for a quick break. 

However, I did feel sorry for the business owners. Obviously, there are no international tourists and since the latest COVID-19 lockdown, there were also no visitors from the Auckland region to help boost the local economy. 

Overall, it was quite scary how quiet it was. But it certainly did not stop us from doing our bit to try and help the local Queenstown economy, and it didn't stop us from having a thoroughly enjoyable time there. 

During the week, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing announced the finalists for the various Horse of the Year categories.

We are very proud that Jamie Richards is the sole finalist for the prestigious Trainer of the Year award - after the amazing season Te Akau had, it's a rare honour to see only one nominee. Jamie will also receive the award for winning the Trainers' Premiership while our stable rider Opie Bosson is one of two Champion Jockey of the Year finalists.

Karaka Million and Group 1 winner Cool Aza Beel is a finalist for the Champion 2YO of the Year title while Sydney Group 1 and Karaka Million back to back winner probable makes the finals in the Champion 3YO section. Multiple Group 1 winners Te Akau Shark, Melody Belle and Avantage are all finalists for Champion Sprinter/Miler honours. Avantage and Melody Belle also have been named in the Champion Middle Distance Horse category as finalists.

The awards are scheduled for Sunday 11 October in Hamilton so the tangerine will be out in force.

We had a somewhat frustrating weekend on the racecourse - we had five runners and four of them ran second. At least the team is in good form and the winner's circle isn't far off. It was though a case of being back in the winner's circle in Singapore with Mark recording yet another win on Sunday - he continues to lead the Trainers' Premiership.

Wasn't the run of Probabeel a beauty in her Group 3 in Sydney? Her sectionals were huge and it was terrific to see her race so well. Not much went right for our Queen of the Turf Melody Belle in the Group 1 Winx Stakes so we will look now to return her home to tackle some domestic Group races before a possible Australian autumn campaign.

Looking back over previous years, August and September must be the two most frustrating months of the racing calendar. We are at the tail end of winter and we are all looking forward to good tracks. One thing that is for certain is that we will not be getting good tracks until early October. 

There have been only two years in the last 20 that have we had a good track in September. This is why it is so desperately important for our administrators to get racing at Ruakaka going through September. 

I have been saying for a long time that people who talk about closing tracks down are very misguided. Until we have an all-weather track built and up and running successfully, we need to keep every course proper in this part of New Zealand open (and that includes Avondale). 

My son Davey and his partner Lucy sent me a photo of my grandson Corey over the weekend. He is not yet five but he received Player of the Day at rugby on Saturday. Corey is also a gun rider and has already won plenty of ribbons at pony club! I am just so proud of all my grandchildren, and these photos are just too good not to share with you all.

Another photo that I was sent over the weekend was of my "apprentice-to-be" - Max Bosson. Max is only 18 months old and is the son of our stable jockey Opie Bosson and his wife Emily.

There are only thirteen and a half more years until Max will be ready to start his apprenticeship with Te Akau!!

The good news is that Opie is back riding this weekend, and we are really looking forward to having him back at the races. He is very, very fit after riding a huge amount of track work - he is in the best shape I have seen him for years. 

I know I keep saying this, but the farmer in me is telling me how lucky we are to have had such a mild winter. Yesterday at Te Akau Stud, it was 18 degrees, and you could literally see the grass growing.

This warm weather signifies that we are now only a week away from the start of spring! The lambs have been loving this warm weather and the stock are in the best condition that I have ever seen for this time of the year.

We are all really excited about spring racing and the firmer tracks coming in five weeks' time. Jamie Richards and our team are busy educating some very exciting 2YO's and well as starting to prepare our more experienced team.

They youngsters are showing some real talent, and I just wish that our administrators would release the calendar for October and November.

It is so hard trying to create a Spring programme in place for our horses when we do not actually know what is going to be scheduled. 

We need more races - not fewer - more meetings - not fewer, and plenty of 2YO races to give these young horses every chance to qualify for the Karaka Million.


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