Te Akau Monday Update

Date: 27 Feb 2023

Te Akau Monday Update


David writes:


What a wonderful day we had at the Show Jumping Grand Prix Final yesterday at the Takapoto Estate.

This is one of the most magnificent venues I have ever seen! And the show jumping course was absolutely incredible. We were guests of Dunstan Horse Feeds which sponsored one of the jumps. The day was particularly enjoyable because the high standard of riding and horsemanship - the beautiful horses had to be seen to be believed.

The champion rider was Rylee Sheehan (main picture with Mark Walker and me). Rylee rides work for us each morning at Te Akau Racing in Matamata and was also some fitness training and dressage work with our horses. What a champion young man he is - what really impressed me most, aside from his talent and skill, was he was at work at 4am this morning, even after his big day of success and celebration. An incredible young man who we are so proud to have in the team.

The Takapoto Estate is owned by Mitch & Kate Plaw, and I have never seen a better set up and it is an asset and facility that the whole of the Waikato can be truly proud of. It is situated about 20 minutes south of Cambridge.

Saturday was a fantastic day for Te Akau Racing - winning eight races! Four at Matamata, two at Otaki and two in Singapore.

Gee, I thought our Karaka 2YO Million winner Tokyo Tycoon was impressive winning the Group 3 Matamata Slipper, with Trobriand making it a stable quinella. Zourion, having just her second start, was also a head-turner claiming the Group 2 Matamata Breeders' Stakes. It was great for Cambridge Stud's Brendan & Jo Lindsay, who have a share in Tokyo Tycoon and also own Zourion, so it was an exciting day for them.

Saturday's success in the colts' and geldings' race was the 10th time that we have won the Group 3 Matamata Slipper, and the 8th time that Te Akau has won the Group 2 Matamata Breeders Stakes, winning it last year with Maven Belle.

We were delighted too for the connections of our other winners - Brando, Waikato Stud's SkewWiff, Wairau Cove, and Derby-bound Dynastic.  In total our stable jockey Opie Bosson won half the card, with four winners on the day.

The weekend's New Zealand success sees Mark Walker now 70 wins clear on the Trainers' Premiership - with 26 Group/Listed wins, 19 ahead of the next stable.  We are proud to also be closing in on the $6 million in prize money won for our owners too.  A strike rate of 6.15 for a major stable is an excellent statistic.



Wins 2nds 3rds Stakes Starts G & L SR
1 Mark Walker 132 116 83 $5,886,022 812 26 6.15
2 Stephen Marsh 62 75 60 $2,103,630 569 4 9.18
3 Robbie Patterson 31 15 15 $566,540 125 0 4.03
4 Andrew Forsman 28 32 26 $1,423,822 222 5 7.93
5 Lisa Latta 28 28 39 $1,336,265 305 7 10.89
6 Kevin Myers 28 26 25 $1,123,295 212 3 7.57
7 Roger James & Robert Wellwood 25 14 16 $1,369,160 148 4 5.92
8 Tony Pike 24 26 28 $768,830 213 1 8.88
9 Lance O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott 22 27 18 $861,145 185 2 8.41
10 Andrew Carston 22 26 26 $504,610 292 0 13.27


In Singapore, Our Secret Weapon (below) went back to back - he is a 5YO Outreach gelding that I bought from the Ready to Run Sale for $60,000, specifically to race from our Singapore stable.  He has now won $113,568 in stake money, with his start incentives on top of that. Luxury Brand, who we train for Kylie Bax and her team, completed the double.



It really is an exciting time of the year for racing with this weekend Group 1 NZ Derby Day at Te Rapa, where we will have a strong team entered.  We will also have Imperatriz running in the A$600,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes in Sydney where she will be ridden by James McDonald, our former stable rider.

'Berri', we we know Imperatriz, left the stable at 2pm today to travel to Auckland airport and will land in Sydney later tonight, being met by our senior travelling foreman Hunter Durrant.  As you can see below, she looks in terrific order so it will be good to see her step out over 1300m under WFA conditions at Royal Randwick.


With all the rain that we have had at the farm, 40mls on Friday & Saturday, I have never seen the farm looking so green and the clover has to be seen to be believed. It's just magnificent. The lambs are in the best condition of all time and the cattle are putting on about 1.5kgs a day! Another very busy week on the farm coming up, with a lot of owners coming to see their horses and the yearlings are selling really well.

While all the rain has been fantastic for the farm, it's been an absolute nightmare for Mark and the Matamata stable team to try and get horses ready with the soft and heavy (almost winter-like) tracks that we have had. It has been so frustrating but like true champions they have got through it.

We have sold about 80% of our yearlings, which is a great result when you consider that we sold the last share in Tokyo Tycoon in July last year and the last share in Imperatriz sold in July too in her year.

We still have some shares in some magnificent yearlings.

Our filly syndicate this year comprises two richly bred fillies from Magic Millions' Sale - Lot 59 & Lot 145. Lot 59 is a Zousain filly that really took my eye and Lot 145 is a stand-out Written Tycoon filly. Both fillies have been popular and our aim is to prepare them to run in the Magic Million A$3 million 2YO event next January - and then the season after, they can compete for the A$3 million 3YO race. They both look like they could race in that race.





Another colt from Karaka that has really taken my eye is Lot 231, a Harry Angel colt out of Here We Come, that I paid $125,000 for. This is by a stallion that is really going places quickly in Australia. And this colt looks like a horse that could run in the Karaka Million next January. That's him below - he looks to be built for speed, and his pedigree certainly suggests he will get up and run.  As Karyn says "he's definitely not our 'spare' " even though he's by Harry Angel!



I would also like to thank all our owners and friends and supporters who have that contributed to our fundraiser for the Cyclone Gabrielle Relief Fund.  Te Akau Racing has raised over $40,000 and we are all thinking of every one so severely impacted in this part of New Zealand - their heartache is unimaginable, the pictures just leave you feeling so helpless - and this is one way we can all help.  The fund will close off donations tomorrow so please do contribute whatever you can.

Have a good week and look forward to seeing you at Derby Day at Te Rapa this year, this coming Saturday.



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