Te Akau Pair Chases Features

Date: 20 Jun 2024

Te Akau Pair Chases Features

NZ Racing News reports:

Te Akau Racing might have just welcomed four Group One winners back into recent work at its Matamata stable, but trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson aren’t getting distracted from the immediate task at hand: chasing stakes spoils at Tauranga on Saturday.

Skew Wiff, Quintessa, Campionessa and Move To Strike have all returned to the stable to prepare for racing in the new season, but for now they’ve had to relinquish the spotlight to talented mares Aris Aris and Fashion Shoot, who give Te Akau a strong hand in the Listed Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic, a 1400m weight-for-age fillies and mares feature.

Six-year-old Savabeel mare Fashion Shoot returns to domestic racing after a fruitless Australian campaign, while Contributor five-year-old Aris Aris has been a consistent performer in recent starts, winning over 1300m at Te Rapa last month before an unplaced last-start run at Te Aroha.

“Both are in really good order. They worked together on the course proper here which is obviously pretty rain-affected and both worked really well. It was really strong work,” Bergerson said after Wednesday morning trackwork.

“Aris Aris probably got through the ground a little bit better. I’m really hoping it dries out a little bit though that’s probably unlikely. But I can’t fault either of them. They seem to be going into Saturday in good order.”

Raced by Gordon Cunningham and Greg Tomlinson, Aris Aris has yet to win at 1400m, but she has pleased the stable with her buildup to her target race.

“Aris Aris was really good two starts ago. She struck a really loose track at Te Aroha. She travelled into it nicely but sort of fell out of the bridle a bit. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to be wet at Tauranga, albeit they are forecasting a fine rest of the week. How much drying there is still remains to be seen. But she’s in really good form.”

A winner of seven of her 35 starts, Fashion Shoot was a winner of the G3 Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes at Riccarton earlier in the season and finished a brave fourth in the G1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Ellerslie before her three-race campaign in Victoria and South Australia.

“Fashion Shoot has returned from Australia in really good order. She ran a really good Group 1 placing before leaving in the Breeders,” Bergerson said.

“While she was a shade disappointing over there, she drops back to New Zealand company and hopefully she can show her best because I’m sure if she does, she could be in it.

Her soft ground form is really good. Her heavy ground form remains to be seen but we’ve done all we can with her, and it’d be really nice to pick up some black type for some great supporters of the stable.

“She has had a big season. It’d be lovely to sign it off on a winning note or to see her put in a really good performance because she’s a really gutsy, tough man. She’s done a fantastic job for the stable.”

Bergerson suggested retirement was beckoning Fashion Shoot.

“We’ll reassess after Saturday. Obviously, this will be her last start for the season but whether that’s it for her racing career, we’ll just see. If it is, she’s done an amazing job. She has been a fantastic mare.”

Bergerson was excited to have the stable’s domestic Group One quartet from last season back in training ahead of the new season.

G1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes winner Move To Strike credited Bergerson with his fourth Group One win in his rookie training season and he was looking forward to the I Am Invincible colt’s three-year-old spring campaign.

“It’s extremely exciting to have him back. He’s a lovely animal to do anything with. You’d almost forget he was a colt – he’s that laidback,” Bergerson said.

“He’s done really well in his break. He’s put on plenty of weight so he’s on a bit of a diet as we aim to get him fit and target the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton. We’re just stoked to have him back. Hopefully he’s in for a really good three-year-old season.”

Bergerson said the trio of Skew Wiff, Campionessa and Quintessa were also building up well with the possible early-season target of the G1 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings on September 7.


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