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Te Akau Monday Update

18 Oct 2021

Te Akau Monday Update


David writes:


Gosh this lockdown is really starting to frustrate everyone, isn’t it?!  How Te Akau can be in Level 3 defies logic (and not just geographically) and Matamata in Level 2?  I absolutely understand that we must do everything to keep people safe but the powers that be don’t seem to really understand how hard it is to run a business in normal times, let alone with all these ever-changing lockdowns and restrictions.

There are so many people I feel sad for, and especially those within the Auckland border region.  They’ve now spent over 60 days in lockdown – the pressure people must be under is unfathomable: home schooling, the distress in watching your businesses fail as savings (if any) evaporate through trying to keep them afloat, losing jobs, unable to see family members, so much to contemplate with mandatory vaccinations coming for some sectors and so much more.  Aucklanders have really gone through so much and with no end in sight and their pain is real. These are unprecedented times I know, but we have to get on and get this job done, and get back to business and living.  The world is moving on and we need to as well.

Karyn and I also have been thinking about our owners and friends all over the world no matter where they may be – for example our Sydney owners have had we believe some 107 days and Melbourne over 260 days of restrictions while Singapore is another nation that has faced difficult times – certainly very tough for everyone no question. As we all know, Covid has no boundaries.

Despite all this uncertainty, there is always some good news – and for Te Akau Racing it was winning three races at three different venues on Saturday:

Savy Yong Blonk winning the Group 1 Livamol Classic at Hastings, with stablemate Prise De Fer a game third from a wide draw

Summer Monsoon winning the Ashburton Cup at Ashburton

Red Riding Wood winning at Kranji, Singapore


Our very warmest congratulations to Bill and Jim Gartshore who bred and own Savy Yong Blonk, and entrusted us with her training.  All credit to Jamie and our hardworking team for another elite race win, Te Akau has now won the last three Livamol Classic in a row, and six in total.  Our past winners are:

2003  Distinctly Secret
2008  Princess Coup ($2 million stake)
2009  Princes Coup ($2 million stake)
2019   Melody Belle
2020  Melody Belle
2021  Savy Yong Blonk

Jamie has had an incredible record with the progeny of Champion Sire Savabeel, and Savy Yong Blonk becomes his 24th individual Group 1 winner.  It was also the 10th Group 1 win Te Akau has had with his progeny!

Te Akau’s success with Savabeel’s offspring is well known – Group 1 winners Probabeel, Amarelinha, Hall of Fame, Sword of Osman, Cool Aza Beel, Embellish and other Group winners such as Splurge, Prise De Fer, Gold Fever, Aotea Lad, Royal Success and others.

I also got a thrill out of seeing our 7YO Summer Monsoon win the $40,000 Ashburton Cup on Saturday. He raced as an early two year old and you wouldn’t believe it, he ran second to Melody Belle at Ruakaka on debut.  Well done to our Assistant Trainer Sam Bergerson, Lydia Truesdale, Sumeet Pillay and our southern team – the countdown to Cup Week is on!

The weekend winning continued as Te Akau Singapore trainer Mark Walker celebrated a season milestone of 60 wins for the season when Red Riding Wood saluted.  Mark maintains a lead of seven wins on the Trainers’ Premiership with only five race meetings remaining for this season (Singapore works to a calendar year). This would be Mark’s fourth Singapore Trainers’ Premiership to add to his five New Zealand titles won before he re-located to Kranji when we established our stable there in 2010.





I really want to congratulate all our team members who have been working incredibly hard to achieve these results – you guys are the true champions of our industry!

Wasn’t it great watching the crowd at the Sydney races on Saturday?  Seeing people back at the races as pictured and lapping up the atmosphere was so reinvigorating – I understand that we will see this happening in Melbourne from this weekend too.  The new Sydney Premier gave Racing New South Wales an exemption for Everest day at Randwick, raising the permitted on-course attendance number from 5,000 to 10,000.

Our former stable rider, Hall of Fame and Champion jockey James McDonald, achieved a career ambition adding The Everest to his 55 career Group 1 win tally.  I think he summed it up perfectly in a post race media interview as he returned aboard the A$15 million Everest winner Nature Strip :


The champion jockey is usually relatively measured even after a big race win but he was very animated before a Randwick crowd that was enjoying the moment as much as him.

“I have never in my life experienced anything like it,’’ McDonald said.

“I don’t think there is a lady or a man over 30 in that crowd and they are going bonkers. It is so good to see – this is awesome.’’



Speaking about top jockeys, in further important news, our stable rider Opie Bosson is ready to start riding again.  In the previous lockown, Opie was classified as residing in the Waikato District where he is a ratepayer and this was changed (only by a whisker) to the Auckland district for the current lockdown.  Three weeks ago Opie relocated for the long-term to work at Te Akau Stud, where he is living.  He now has the all-clear to resume riding in areas that are Level 3, and Level 2 once the Waikato returns to that level.    It will be great to see our 83-time Group 1 winning stable rider return.

Opie has been working hard on the farm and is very fit and pretty light for this time of the year.  He enjoys working on the farm and has some special duties in additon to farm work – he has been riding his old friend Gingernuts who he won three Group 1 races on, including the Group 1 NZ Derby, Group 1 Windsor Park Plate and Group 1 Rosehill Guineas in Sydney.  It’s been quite a reunion for these two.  The farm team reckons Jerry (as we know Gingernuts) knows exactly who Opie is!  Jerry is the lead pony for the young horses we educate here and the final horse that we are currently breaking in is a Savabeel filly out of Gallwiz called Andraste.  This is a beautiful filly I purchased for A$400,000 from the Sydney Easter Sale – she had a small hold-up but is flying now and should head in to the stable next week.



I am really proud to say that everyone currently working at Te Akau has been vaccinated.  Even at Level 3, life must go on caring for our horses and our livestock, and on Saturday we shore our ewe hoggets (last year’s lambs) and next week we start selling our prime beef.  The grass is really taking off now and the stock are certainly thriving.  Last night we had 20mls of rain as well as a lot of thunder and lightning but today it is supposefd to get to 20 degrees – that’s a big factor in making that grass bolt!



At this time of the year there is always something to look forward to and Cup Week in Christchurch is now only just under three weeks away.  Before that we can’t wait to see our Tavistock mare Entriviere line up in the A$2 million The Invitation on Saturday in Sydney – she is currently favourite for the inuagural running of this event for fillies and mares.  With James McDonald Melbourne bound, she will be ridden by Tommy Berry who is in terrific form again this season.   That’s her pictured with Paul Richards taking an ocean dip last week (credit Ashlea Brennan).  Now all we would like is a little bot of rain to assist her chances!  Weather dependent, we will also have our four-time Australian Group 1 winner Probabeel take on the Cox Plate, with the all important draw being made tomorrow.  Of course in her case, it’s ‘rain, rain stay away’!

Have a great week and a massive thank you again to our hard working team members: Jamie and the team at Matamata, Sam and the team at Christchurch, Ashley in Melbourne and Paul in Sydney as well as Mark and our Singapore team – you are simply the best!

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