Te Akau Monday Update

Date: 3 Apr 2023

Te Akau Monday Update


David writes:


What a fantastic weekend of racing it was! It was great to see the New Zealand bred horses doing so well in Australia, cleaning up at the elite level.

The highlight on Saturday for us was seeing Brando (main picture) win the Group 2 Awapuni Gold Cup. It really was a very special experience, because it's a race we have won a few times - twice with a horse I bred called Distinctly Secret. It is special to us as when Distinctly Secret won his first of the two Cups, it was the first time that Karyn and I had been to the races together as an engaged couple, so that was a day I will never forget.

But back to Brando - we are just thrilled for his owners as they have been so patient with him, and allowed us to get him to where he is today.  He is not without issues or character (!) but it was just a genius training achievement by Mark Walker to see the horse win so well at his first attempt over 2000m.  Well done to the team in the colt barn that has been working so hard, bringing these sort of wonderful results to reality.

Brando won the Group 2 Ultimate Mazda Japan Trophy at Tauranga just last weekend ... and Mark decided to give him the seven-day backup and send him off to Awapuni ... the team really has this horse humming.  Add to that, a 10/10 Opie Bosson ride, and the handsome boy goes back to back, two Group 2 victories in seven days.  He has now won nine of his 25 starts, with five seconds, and four of his last five starts have been winning performances. Here are some of his very happy owners on Saturday:



Another reason we were delighted with Brando's success is that he is part-owned by John Elstob and his wife Denise, and we were at their wedding on Saturday afternoon and watched Brando win, so a great wedding present for them. Luckily the service itself had just finished as the bride and Karyn (who conducted the wedding service) were very vocal indeed!

Brando is a Savabeel gelding I purchased from the Ready to Run Sale and didn't Savabeel have a great day in Australia winning both the Group 1 Derby and the Group 1 TJ Smith? So he sires winners from 1200m to 2400m, that tells you what a really great sire he is - a great thrill too for the Chittick family and Waikato Stud team I am sure.

Te Akau Racing has had huge success with the progeny of Savabeel - our results with Savabeel's stock would be amongst the best you will find, and we are proud of our training team's achievements with them.

So far Te Akau has won 45 black type races including 13 Group 1 wins with horses sired by Savabeel.  That means that 37% of Savabeel's Group 1 wins have been trained by Te Akau Racing, with the vast majority purchased by us too.

The great thing about the Savabeel is his versatility - and he sure can leave a Champion 2YO like Cool Aza Beel - who won the Karaka 2YO Million, and went on to win the Group 1 Sistema Stakes and is now at Stud at Newhaven Park in NSW. Then there is Sword of Osman who won the Group 1 Sistema Stakes as well. Plus we have had 2YO's like Gold Fever who won the Group 2 Matamata Breeders' Stakes; Probabeel who won the Karaka 2YO Million; Aotea Lad who won the Group 2 Wellesley Stakes (Group 2) on debut.

Remember too what Probabeel went on to do - four Group 1 victories in Australia as well as the Karaka 3YO Million and other Group 1 Savabeel's Te Akau has purchased and trained such as Amarelinha (also NZB Filly of the Year), Prise De Fer, Embellish (now at stud himself), Hall of Fame, Noverre (also at stud) - as well as The Perfect Pink and Savy Yong Blonk who we were entrusted with.

We have shares still available in some beautiful Savabeel fillies and one colt, and I think they were great buying. If the fillies live up to our expectations on the track, they will be very valuable fillies indeed. The colt is from one of the finest female families in Australia and looks a runner to my eye too.

These are our Savabeel fillies (3) and colt (1) who have limited shares available - and I can highly recommend them:

Savabeel - Grand Wish filly 

Savabeel -Miss Scandinavia colt

Savabeel - Sombreuil filly

Savabeel - Style By Design filly

I can highly recommend each one of these yearlings, and shares start at 2.5% - there's nothing like having a Savabeel in your racing portfolio!!

I will never forget about four years ago, going to Duncan Fell's Fairdale Stud with Joe Walls, and he had three yearlings in Book One at Karaka and I turned around to Joe and said 'gee, all three yearlings are the types you would love to have!'

So at the yearling sale, I bought one of them for $150,000 and that turned out to be Cool Aza Beel; another one of the yearlings was a filly that was passed in but I subsequently bought her for $15,000 and she won a race but was retired, and then I was the under-bidder on Brando, who was subsequently passed in and I bought him at the Ready to Run Sale.

So congratulations to Duncan Fell for breeding two such great horses that year.

Back to Saturday now - and continuing with our Savabeel theme - our other winner on the day but at Avondale came with Spellcraft, a Savabeel gelding having just his third start. It looks like he definitely has more in store, and he was beautifully ridden by our apprentice Joe Kamaruddin.

Later that evening, our Singapore stable chimed in with Donna and the team adding another winner to make it three wins in total for our stable for the day.  Te Akau Ben, who we race with our good friend Ben Kwok, is a Tavistock gelding I purchased from the yearling sale for $115,000.  It was terrific to see him win as he has been sidelined with an injury but looks to have returned bigger and stronger.  Donna has done a great job getting this horse race fit and back to winning form.



It was an exciting sporting weekend all round because to see the Warriors 20 points down after 10 minutes, and then finish up beating the Cronulla Sharks was a huge effort - incredible by the team to come back from that deficit! A wonderful testimony to great management and the team is going so well, so well done to Warriors' CEO Cameron George for a big start to the season.

Also, and now I am being a bit parochial, it was great to see the Chiefs play so well, it looks like a team that is going to be very hard to beat this season and I can't wait for Anton Lienert-Brown to get back after his injury. His next game for the Chiefs will be his 100th game, so we will all be there watching and supporting him.

Finally, we are all so proud to see our former trainer Jamie Richards record a double on the weekend in Hong Kong.  What a great start he has had, and it is fantastic to see him doing so well!

We had another 15mls of rain on the farm on Friday night and it's hard to explain how much grass we have! The farm has never looked better and the stock just look in tip-top order.

Our attention this week now turns to Tauranga on Wednesday where we have some promising young horses having their first race day start. Then on Saturday at Pukekohe we have two good chances in the Group 1 NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes - this is a race we won last year with recent Melbourne Group 1 winner Imperatriz, and the year before with 9-time Group 1 winner Avantage. Usually held at Te Aroha, the race will take place at Pukekohe this year.

Best of luck to all of our owners with runners this week.




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