Te Akau Monday Update

Date: 30 Aug 2021

Te Akau Monday Update


David writes:


Well thank goodness for international racing to keep us entertained over the weekend!

Te Akau had runners in two countries, Australia and Singapore, and we had success in both - with our only starter in Australia being a definitive winner!

Probabeel, who is trained by Jamie Richards, gave Karyn and me a massive thrill on Saturday. With Damian Lane aboard, Probabeel put on a stunning performance to win the Group 3 WW Cockram Stakes at Caulfield under 60kgs and from the widest gate. This gave us the best excuse to open the bar and celebrate! You never ever get tired of winning Group races in Australia.



Huge congratulations to the mare's owners Brendan Lindsay MNZM and Jo Lindsay of Cambridge Stud. Probabeel is the definition of quality and we are just so proud to have her in our stable.  I bought this daughter of Savabeel on spec from the Karaka Book 1 Sale for $380,000.  She has now won 11 of her 24 starts, including three Australian Group 1 races, as well as Group 2 and 3 races there, and both the Karaka 2YO and 3YO Million in New Zealand (the only horse to ever do so) - for stakes in excess of A$3.2 million.

Yesterday Amarelinha, our Group 1 Oaks' winning mare and NZB Filly of the Year for 2020/21, flew safely to Australia for a new campaign. We now have four mares and a colt based in Australia for the Spring. We have Probabeel and Kahma Lass based in Melbourne with Ashley Handley, while Amarelinha, Sword of State and Entriviere are with Paul Richards in Sydney.

Our Singapore based trainer Mark Walker followed the winning trend on Sunday with another win which saw him now head the Singapore Trainers' Premiership. Maximilian won Race 2 for the Remarkable Stable. Congratulations Mark, on such a great season.



In the next week, we will also have our first runners from our South Island stable take to the track. Our first team headed south in recent days and this Spring, we will be sending at least 20 horses south.  We have a world class team, headed by our Assistant Trainer Sam Bergerson and Lydia Truesdale, overseeing them.

I got the best news recently about Xtravagant, who has had an excellent start to his stud career. He had his first black type winner in Melbourne last week and from all accounts, the trainers who have his progeny are very impressed with them.

Xtravagant was purchased by the famed Newhaven Park Stud when he finished his racing career with Te Akau, and he now stands at stud. Newhaven Park also stands Cool Aza Beel, who I am told nearly has a full book of mares for his first season, which is fantastic news for everyone involved.

Another highlight over the weekend came from the innovative Boys' Get Paid group.  This is one organisation that never ceases to amaze me with its energy and original ideas to encourage participation. On Saturday, Karyn and I followed BGP's punters' club (which we both contributed to), which had a pool of $200,000. Probabeel winning for BGP was a huge result for them - congratulations too to the TAB for embracing the concept and being an enthusiastic partner in the event.

I am so impressed with the way Luke Kemeys heads BGP - here we have young people who are enthusiastic and championing our industry. This is what racing is all about.  I bought an Iffraaj filly for the BGP team at Karaka this year and she's a beauty - Iff I Get Paaid - remember her name!



While we are on the topic of young people, I am also really enjoying the new radio programme SENZ. I listen to it all the time and am especially enjoying the racing content. Te Akau has just agreed to support this radio show with sponsorship, which I believe is a great investment for our industry.

Karyn and I just can't wait for New Zealand racing to resume. Life is just so boring without having racing or sport to watch, and we have very exciting horses who are more than ready to take to the tracks and begin their campaigns.

As I have previously stated in my earlier updates, I recently had surgery on my right foot and my leg has now been in plaster for going on five weeks. To put it lightly, it is driving me absolutely crazy! I am so fortunate to have a world class nurse in Karyn Fenton-Ellis, who has been taking excellent care of me.

I am very grateful for our team at Te Akau Stud who are in our bubble - they have been true champions in helping me keep the farm running as smoothly as possible considering my current limitations and the lockdown restrictions.  Likewise our stable team who have put their hearts and souls into keeping our horses happy and well during this non-racing time.



However, there is no such thing as a ‘lockdown' for farmers, as we start docking the lambs this week. This morning we also bought a full truck and trailer load of approximately 110 steers from the South Island. They are extremely good buying down south at present, and providing that we can get Delta outbreak under control, it is predicted that sheep and cattle will sell at great prices this spring.

Did I also mention that Spring is less than 24 hours away? This makes the Te Akau farmer incredibly happy!

As we begin to move towards a drop in lockdown levels, with the exception of Auckland and Northland, I would like to congratulate New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) on the way it is communicating with stakeholders. I fully support what NZTR is doing with all programming matters - it has been nimble and responsive.

Recently I was invited to meet with the NZTR Board and senior management. I always give credit where credit is due - NZTR has a very switched Board team, which is being led by Cameron George. Cameron is one of the very best racing administrators I have seen in my time of racing. As a chief steward, Cameron was always a straight up and down person, and it is great to see that hasn't changed. I am very proud to be part of an industry that he is helping to lead, he gets things done.

It's always easy to be critical of a governing body in any industry and I have done that myself when I believe it is warranted but through Covid, I am supporting NZTR 100 percent. I believe it is an organisation that is being currently being very well run at every level.

As I have said before, horse racing is so deeply ingrained in the history and fabric of New Zealand, as much as anywhere else in the world. It brings joy and excitement, creates jobs and allows us to show our talent against the rest of the big guns in the racing world.  We can be proud of the fact our horses punch well above their weight internationally. Our land for breeding and the overall conditioning of horses is one of our biggest advantages.

During these difficult times, let's all stick together and work together going forward. If we do this, we can get this great industry going again and look forward to a successful future. My glass is always half full and negative people who always criticise don't do much for me.

Have a great week everyone. Stay safe and I hope you are all looking forward to drop in alert levels come Wednesday just as much as we are - let's get racing!


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