Te Akau Monday Update

Date: 1 May 2023

Te Akau Monday Update


David writes:


It's been such a busy but successful time since my last update.  What a great day's racing we had on Saturday with three wins at Te Rapa (including the Group 2 Travis Stakes), and then a very nice win with a first starter in Singapore.

Before looking at the weekend that was, I just want to wind the clock back a week or so and reflect on some other stand out performances and team effort.

Sunday week ago, Mark Walker and the team produced another winning double at Awapuni.  The first of the successful duo was Devoted, a Contributor gelding who we are preparing for the jumping season.  You will see Te Akau with a nice brigade of jumpers for the winter season - something we want to continue to build on.



Mark loves training jumpers and the horses that we identify for this winter activity, have really shown us how much they enjoy the activity.  Later today we will post a good story the NZ Herald's Michael Guerin published on our winter plans.

The second Awapuni winner was Kabugee and it was great to see him back in the winner's circle for his team of owner/breeders, including TAB bookmaker Stephen Hunt.  This son of Satono Aladdin has a lot of ability and I think you will read about him a lot more as the new season gets underway.

During the week we also saw very good winning performances from both Stella Splendida and Image of You.  Image of You has been a work in progress as she has some frustrating foot issues - so huge kudos goes to our farrier Gareth Allis who has done an excellent job with her.

On to Te Rapa on Saturday - how exciting to see Mark and the team win three races for our owners: Wairau Cove started the winning vein, followed by classy grey Aromatic dominant winning the Group 2 Travis Stakes, and She's Outrageous rounding the day off claiming the last.  All three were ridden by our stable rider Opie Bosson, and takes our team's tally to 175 wins for the domestic season.


We are proud to have been entrusted to train Wairau Cove and She's Outrageous by her owners - and we were delighted for them to see both win narrowly, with plenty of courage.

Aromatic is a mare that I purchased for $160,000 from Tony Rider's Milan Park at Karaka. How good was she on Saturday? A mare who is really starting to hit her straps for her patient owners - the Travis Stakes' win was her third Group victory this season. She was so tough winning the Group 3 Counties Cup (below) in November, followed by a gutsy third in the Group 3 Waikato Cup in December. She then was beaten only a nose in the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes at Trentham in March.



She was desperately unlucky when held up at a vital stage in the Group 1 NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes at Pukekohe in April. As she came through that race so well, Mark elected to back her up six days later in the Group 3 Manawatu Breeders' Stakes at Awapuni (below) on 14 April.  She won easily by 1.75 lengths - and we saw how good she was in the Group 2 Travis Stakes on Saturday over 2000m.



She's had a busy but very successful season and is a mare that has taken time to mature, so our huge thanks to her owners for their patience.  She is rewarding that now and we can't wait to see what she does in the new season ahead, as she heads out today for a thoroughly well deserved spell at Te Akau Stud.

It was quite interesting that after the last race, I caught up with Opie in our box for a quick beer on his way home. Coincidentally, we have a photo of him winning the Travis Stakes on the wall - the same race, 23 years ago with Integrate who was a great mare that I bought. She won Group races on both sides of the Tasman before we sold her to Japan for a significant return for her owners.

Mark also ran a very close second in the Group 3 Cambridge Breeders' Stakes with Petrucci, a talented I am Invincible filly that we train for Cherry, Faith & Brent Taylor of Trelawney Stud. She looks like she is going to be a certain stakes' winner going forward.

The Mighty Spar and Aotea Lad also were in great form, likewise both finishing close up second's.

Mark finished the day with 175 wins, $7.87 million in prize money, and recorded his 34th New Zealand Group/Listed win for the season, with three months of the season to go. If that's not an incredible achievement by a world class team - what is?

The winning continued on Saturday evening with debut starter two year old Rhett Butler winning a S$75,000 Maiden race in Singapore for the Fortuna team.  Our trainer Donna Logan and John Galvin purchased him from the Sydney Ready to Race Sale.

Last week a horse Karyn syndicated called Maximum Control (below) also did exactly the same, winning impressively at his first Singapore start - if you are keen to race a horse from our Singapore stable, do drop Karyn an email as we will be identifying another horse for our stable there in coming weeks.



We are still selling shares in the yearlings and as I keep saying to everybody - Imperatriz, the last share in her sold in July that year, she just wasn't that popular which made no sense as she was a beautiful yearling. Tokyo Tycoon, his last share was sold in July too. Even more incredibly, nine-time Group 1 winner Avantage, her last share didn't sell until August.

So we have limited shares still available in some really top yearlings, which are now rising 2YO's year olds. With Mothers' Day coming up, what a brilliant gift to buy for your mother - a share in a promising yearling.

The weather forecast is for rain every day for the next nine days but at this time of year on a farm, you can take all the rain that we can get. The grass is just looking terrific, the farm has never looked better for this time of the year.  We have our second final unit of steers going this week to Green Lea and then we will sell one unit in June and nothing further till the end of September.

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




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