Te Akau Monday Update

Date: 22 Aug 2022

Te Akau Monday Update


David writes:


Since arriving home two weeks ago, our feet literally haven't touched the ground. Gee it's been a very busy time for the stables and the farm.

Last weekend we staged our 'Te Akau Soiree' - a very special dinner for Te Akau's owners, friends and senior team and what a huge success this sell-out event at Ellerslie racecourse was!

Our special guest speaker was Champion jockey Glen Boss, who did a fabulous job. He was interesting, fun and he brought his three Melbourne Cups for our guests to even have a drink out of!  His speech was riveting, educational and very well received indeed by everyone.  We were thrilled that he made the effort to travel from Melbourne to be with us.

The evening was brilliantly MC'ed by Michael Guerin and we also had a special fundraising auctio for EquiPotential NZ which Karyn and I are co-Patrons of.  Huge thanks to our friends and supporters who donated goods, services and cash to benefit a wonderful organisation.

The Auctioneer was Butch Castles who did an amazing job of raising over $50,000 - an outstanding result, and one we are hugely thankful to everyone for supporting, both the live and the on-line auctions.

The evening was a great opportunity to thank all our owners for the incredible support they give us and to thank all the senior team (Foremen and Assistant Foremen) for the incredible job they have done looking after all our horses.

We also were delighted to have Champion Jockey Opie Bosson and his wife Emily with us, as they welcome their new baby in about two weeks - it was also the opportunity to congratulate our apprentice Joe Kamaruddin for winning the 2021/22 Champion Apprentice Premiership.

It was exactly two years since our last owners' gala dinner and in that time we have won 314 races in New Zealand and Australia, of which 80 were black type and a phenomenal 24 Group One races. Now those figures are really worth celebrating.

So a big thank you to everyone who has helped make the evening such a terrific success, especially to Julia-Rose our youngest daughter, who organised every last detail down to the minute.  It was a night to remember for certain.

This time of the year is always incredibly frustrating. Every August/September is always the same, but hey, we are only 10 days away from the start of Spring and only five weeks away from starting to see improving tracks.

I'm incredibly excited about our two and three year olds in the stable. It is as nice a team of young horses that we have ever had. We are very much in a rebuilding phase this season without the class horses like Melody Belle, Avantage, Festivity, Sword of State, Noverre and Probabeel - however while they have big shoes to fill, we do have some rising stars such as Imperatriz to look forward to (and a good number of others waiting in the wings).

Speaking of Melody Belle, how exciting is the news overnight on Saturday that she has become a mother for the first time, foaling a gorgeous Written Tycoon chestnut filly.  Mother and daughter are both doing well, I am sure she will be an excellent mum.



Our first big race day is this coming Saturday at Te Rapa where it is Group 2 Foxbridge Plate day. Our trainer Mark Walker also has a big team in at Taupo on Wednesday and Karyn will be on hand to enjoy catching up with our owners who are on course.

Last week, Karyn and I, together with daughters Lydia and Julia-Rose and their husbands and children all went to Timaru for Karyn's mother's memorial service. Sylvia Fenton was a remarkable woman, a real pioneer in many fields, especially banking, and she even had her solo pilot's licence.  It was a very sad time for us all, but being able to celebrate Sylvia's life with her local friends was a day we will always treasure.

Heading south, I decided to fly into Christchurch and had a good look at the training tracks at Riccarton, which I thought were all in good order. The first of our horses that will campaign in the South Island went down last Thursday with Hunter Durrant in charge and another six are travelling south this week. We will have a team of about 20 at our South Island base at Riccarton within a fortnight.

Our Te Akau Singapore stable has continued to fire on all cylinders with Donna and our team recording another winning double on Sunday.  Last weekend saw a sensational four winners on the Group 1 programme - simply outstanding results that now see Donna leading the Trainers' Premiership with 44 winners, 43 second and 45 third place-getters.  Our prize money won for our owners has also topped the $2 million mark with four months of the season yet to run.



In the last six weeks we have had a lot of rain but in the last week, it's been very warm for August and the grass is really growing well. Our five year old ewes have just about finished lambing and the mixed-age ewes are about half way through their lambing programme.  We will start docking the five year old ewes in about two weeks.

The price for prime beef is going to finish up peaking in October at about $7.20 per kilo which is a record price in New Zealand.

Have a great week and Go the Tangerine - can't wait to see the team step out at Taupo!


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