Te Akau Monday Update

Date: 5 Oct 2020

Te Akau Monday Update

David writes:

What an incredible day Saturday was for Te Akau Racing. 

It was just so exciting to see all the hard work from our dedicated team pay off. 

The good news began early in the day at Hawkes Bay with Festivity, one of the most beautiful mares that you will ever see. Danielle Johnson rode this mare perfectly to record her third win from three starts, beating stable mate Pinultimate very narrowly. Both horses look like they are in for a very good season. 


The day just got better at Hawkes Bay, with our trainer Jamie Richards taking out the quinella in the $200,000 Group 1 Windsor Park Plate. This is the fourth year in a row that we have won this race - starting with the beloved Gingernuts in 2017 and Melody Belle's hat-trick since (2018, 2019 and 2020).


Te Akau Stud has had a long and successful association with Windsor Park, who invest a lot back into the racing industry. We are very proud to win their race for the fourth time.

I thought it was an incredible effort for Jamie to have Melody Belle back in form and to have her win first up over a mile after travelling back from Australia recently. She should take some improvement out of that race and should be spot on to defend her Livamol title in two weeks' time.

MELODY BELLE (centre) & AVANTAGE (left)

I was also thrilled to see Troy Harris, a former Te Akau apprentice who rode Melody Belle, win yet another Group 1 in the tangerine. Troy rides trackwork six mornings a week at Matamata and is one of the best horsemen that you'll ever see in a lifetime. He is a massive asset to the team.

Didn't Avantage run a great race too! This mare didn't go down without a good fight and she will be very competitive in the Group 1 Livamol Classic in two weeks time. 

The New Zealand winning didn't stop there however as Markus Aurelius also ran a very good race in the South Island to win at Riccarton. He was a horse that I purchased for $13,000 from the South Island Sale and he took out the last race with our apprentice Chelsea Burdan aboard. Chelsea is having a fantastic season and is now sixth on the New Zealand Jockeys' Premiership while Danielle Johnson is well clear in first place. 


Chelsea also sits in second place on the Apprentice Jockey Premiership. She is a really good rider and is working incredibly hard on race day and around the stable, and it is clearly paying dividends. She is a young lady of whom we are all very proud. 

I was absolutely over the moon for Brendan and Jo Lindsay as we all cheered gun mare Probabeel home to win the time-honoured A$1 million Epsom Handicap in Australia. Probabeel really is some racehorse. When you look back at her results, they are quite remarkable.

This mare won the 2YO Karaka Million and remained unbeaten by taking out the 3YO Karaka Million title - then only horse ever to claim the Million double! She also ran second in Group 1 races in Australia such as the Vinery Stakes (and many other Group races) before taking out the Group 1 Surround Stakes and the Group 1 Epsom Handicap. She is also a finalist in the 2019/20 Champion 3YO of the Year award category which will be announced on Sunday night.


Probabeel winning the prestigious Epsom has been a fantastic team effort and I would like to congratulate Ashley Handley and Craig Thornton who have been looking after the team in Sydney. With Te Akau horses currently based at Randwick, Riccarton and Matamata we have been under the pump and all our team have stepped up to the mark in a very pleasing manner. It makes it all worthwhile for our team when we have these results. 

Speaking of the Epsom - did you know that it is the first time in 35 years since a New Zealand trained horse won the race - we very nearly pulled that off last year when Te Akau Shark was beaten a short neck into second in a gut-wrenchingly tight finish.

With New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing cancelling its annual Horse of the Year awards' dinner this year,  we have decided to host our own Te Akau Racing season Awards this Sunday at Te Rapa. So far we have over 150 guests attending, made up of owners, friends, our team and racing industry representatives - it looks as though it is going to be an incredible night. NZTR will stage its awards virtually via digital platforms such as Facebook so we will be beaming in the live awards' stream as it happens - and celebrate accordingly.

Our Te Akau awards' event is going to be MC'd by Aidan Rodley and I am very much looking forward to enjoying the evening with everyone at the Waikato Racing Club, as we have many reasons to celebrate the 2019/20 season.

We have completed docking all the lambs now and have finished up with the lambing percentage of 145 percent, which is a great result! Now all the farm needs is a good dose of rain. New Zealand is currently very dry and the forecasters are predicting a wet summer - I'll believe that when I see it!!! The accuracy of forecasts in the last 12 months has been most disappointing. 

We are only two weeks away from sending our first load of fat steers to the freezing works. We have about 600 steers that are over 670 kilograms (live weight) and are still putting on an average of two kilograms a day. It will be great to start selling them. 

Karyn and I are travelling to the Hawkes Bay with good friends in two weeks' time for the Livamol Classic meeting. We do this every year and are really looking forward to it. 

Good luck to all our owners this week and congratulations to all our team for such an unbelievable weekend of racing for Te Akau. 



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