Te Akau Monday Update

Date: 7 Dec 2020

Te Akau Monday Update

David writes:

The year 2020 will certainly go down as a year of mixed emotions for everyone, won't it? It has seen huge excitement for Te Akau Racing but has been a challenging time on the sheep and cattle farm. Let alone everything that everyone has been through with the unpredictable of the pandemic!

On 1 April this year, I have never been so short of feed for the livestock here on the farm. By 1 May there was no improvement but by 10 June, our situation had completely changed - we had never had more feed for our stock!

It was a very good winter but a slow spring. However, I am not complaining as we now have more grass than we can handle.

Today we have about 3200 cattle on the farm, 2800 breeding ewes, 3200 lambs and 770 ewe hoggets and we still can't control the feed! It is a very nice problem to have.

We are selling and buying large numbers of cattle every week at the moment. The cattle that we are selling are killing out extremely well, although the price has dropped back about eighty cents a kilo from this time last year. There are number of reasons for this, with one of them being that so many restaurants around the world are closed which means that the demand for meat such as the high quality scotch fillet and sirloin isn't as strong as normal. Also, our dollar is so strong and is now over seventy cents which certainly doesn't help exporters like me.

But when you fatten cattle, you are a margin trader. You
trade the difference in price between a yearling and a two-and-a-half-year-old
steer. The yearlings have been relatively cheap to buy, which means that we are
still receiving really good margins.  

Last week, we made 509 bales of haylage and this weekend we made another 46. Making haylage is a great way to ‘clean the farm up' so to speak. With the rain that is forecast this week, I believe the paddocks will come away and will look absolutely magnificent.

It is an exciting time for the team here at Te Akau Stud, as all the mares and foals are all home now. I am tipping that Embellish has a very prominent and exciting future as a stallion. We have a number of his progeny here on the farm and these foals are, without exception, simply outstanding. 

I was thrilled to see our Savabeel filly Amarelinha win the second race at Ellerslie on Saturday. I think she is a very good filly in the making. It was our trainer Jamie Richards' 65th win for the season in New Zealand, and let's not forget his wins in Australia too at Group 1 and Group 3 level. What an incredible performance that is!


  Wins2nds3rdsStakesStartsG & LSR
1Jamie Richards655432$1,678,060339105.22
2Stephen Marsh292834$718,475369112.72
3Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman242819$803,27018737.79
4Michael & Matthew Pitman242117$537,73519708.21
5Allan Sharrock24159$403,4509523.96
6Tony Pike181420$375,85511626.44
7Kelvin Tyler & Aimee Tyler171610$343,32011706.88
8Team Rogerson151917$366,935254216.93
9Peter & Dawn Williams141010$227,7606714.79
10Kevin Myers132419$346,810171013.15
11Terri Rae13105$271,8356324.85
12Ken Rae & Krystal Williams-Tuhoro1279$234,2109718.08
13Stephen Autridge & Kris Shailer11168$221,0158908.09
14Fraser Auret1198$121,5908407.64
15Roger James & Robert Wellwood1188$429,4107246.55

In other good news - after having a two week suspension, our stable jockey Opie Bosson is back riding on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week. It is great to have him back in the team.

I am thrilled with the way the horses from the Ready to Run Sale have spelled since the sale. A number of them left for the stable last week and everyone who has ridden them has been very impressed.

This Tuesday I am back looking at yearlings and I will have New Zealand Bloodstock's Joe Walls, Danny Rolston and Kane Jones with me. Kane is doing an absolutely outstanding job at New Zealand Bloodstock. His siste, Lena Jones is our Stable Manager at our Matamata Stable and is responsible for everything required for the stable's administration, including sending all Jamie's updates - she runs a very busy office. She is a super star! 

On Tuesday the team will start at Phoenix Park and then go on to Woburn Farm, Carlaw Park and Prima Park before finishing at Landsdowne.

It is looking to be a great week of racing, and I am very confident that we have several good chances at Te Rapa on Saturday - it's SkyCity Hamilton Waikato Cup Day. This event is sold out, no gate sales, no more tickets available - so I hope you have your tickets!

This will be the first race day for the new Chairman of the Waikato Racing Club, and we would like to wish John Elstob the very best of luck. John and his partner Denise are great supporters of Te Akau Racing - they have a share in Amarelinha who won at Ellerslie on Saturday and were there with their co-owners to cheer her on!

I would also like to congratulate the team that is producing the new Raceform publication each week. It is quite incredible that even though the fields don't come out until Wednesday lunchtime, my edition arrives on my desk by 8am on Thursday morning. It is well worth reading and everybody who is involved in the industry should support it. The Editor Liz Whelan is doing a superb job and Richard Edmunds is a world class racing writer, along with Dennis Ryan.

Raceform was put together by one of the champions of our industry, Don Hancock. If you would like subscribe to the Raceform publication, it really is quite easy to sign up - just call 0800 504 704.

Every Monday night, you need to make sure you tune into Weigh In at 8pm on Trackside 1 - channel 62. I believe it is going be a very good episode tonight! The programme is hosted by Emily Bosson and Mick Guerin and tonight's guest is Andrew ‘Butch' Castles. This show is replayed three times in New Zealand each week and three times in Australia, and has only been made possible by our "Stable of Sponsors" - these are studs, organisations and individuals within our industry who came together and contributed funds to deliver this programme.

Weigh In is broadcast live at 8pm on Monday nights and if you happen to miss it, it is always on the Te Akau Racing website and Facebook page. You can also head over to the Weigh In Facebook page - the link is uploaded every Tuesday morning.

In not-so-good news - I was very saddened to hear on Saturday night that Des Farrow, a big supporter of Te Akau Racing, had passed away.

Des and I raced some very good horses together, including Integrate who won 14 races Group races on both sides of the Tasman. We also raced a Group winning Zabeel mare called Let's Cruise. She was a really top horse and we sold her to America for a significant sum.

I remember a very funny story about Des - he said to me ‘when you think that our horse has got a really good chance, can you please let me know as I would like to bring my wife to the races'. So I told him ‘in two weeks Des, Let's Cruise is going to have her first start at the February meeting at Te Rapa'.


He asked me if I thought a Zabeel could actually win, as a Zabeel has never won that early in the season. I reiterated to him that this mare would win, and sure enough Let's Cruise duly won the 2YO race in February at Te Rapa by three quarters of a length. She was one of the best mares and was out of Lady Bay who won four stakes' races in a row for Te Akau Racing in 1991.

Des Ferrow, you will be sorely missed.     Our most sincere sympathies to your family.

It is certainly shaping up to be a great week of racing, good luck to all our owners who have runners and ...



Sign up to our newsletter