Te Akau Poised to Extend Te Rapa Age Group Dominance

Date: 15 Dec 2023

Te Akau Poised to Extend Te Rapa Age Group Dominance

Raceform's Richard Edmunds reports:

Te Akau Racing has dominated two-year-old and three-year-old races on Waikato Cup Day at Te Rapa in recent seasons, and they are heading into Saturday’s 2023 edition with the firepower to continue that trend.

In two of the last three renewals of this meeting, Te Akau has come away with a clean sweep of the age-group races. They did the double in 2019 with Sword Of State (two-year-old) and Brando, then repeated that result 12 months ago with Trobriand and Wild Night.

On paper at least, this season’s dominant premiership leaders Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson tower over their rivals in both races again on Saturday. 

The Te Akau contingent for the ICIB Brokerweb 2YO is made up of About Last Night, Cognoscenti and Move To Strike.

About Last Night goes into the $65,000 race as an easy winner of her only start, and Cognoscenti is expected to improve on his debut placing behind Poetic Champion, but first-starter Move To Strike is the one commanding the most interest.

The well-bred I Am Invincible colt was bought by David Ellis for A$525,000 at this year’s Magic Millions Sale on the Gold Coast. He has been enormously impressive at the trials, compiling a perfect three-from-three record and beating the likes of his race-winning stablemate Maracatu in the process.

“He’s made a pretty good impression in his trials,” Walker said. “He’s a lovely colt that David bought on the Gold Coast. Raceday pressure is always very different to the trials, but we can’t fault anything that he’s done so far and he looks like an exciting prospect.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do on Saturday, and we’ll make up our minds around what we do with him after that.”

Notably, Opie Bosson has opted to ride Move To Strike, with Warren Kennedy booked for About Last Night and Matt Cameron to partner Cognoscenti.

“About Last Night won her only start quite impressively, and she’s won a trial since then and should run well again this weekend,” Walker said. “Cognoscenti was gelded after that debut run at Hawera and is giving us the impression that he’s likely to improve on that performance.”

Walker is also looking forward to the Wentwood Grange 3YO, which sees last season’s standout juvenile Tokyo Tycoon match motors with the unbeaten Gr. 3 Gold Trail Stakes winner Quintessa.

“I’m very happy with both of those three-year-olds,” Walker said. “It’s just a shame that they’re having to clash. That’s the way it’s worked out with their programmes, and they’ll probably end up racing against each other in the Auckland Guineas on Boxing Day too.

“They’re both going into this weekend in very good style and should run well. They’re obviously both eligible for that Karaka Millions race in January, but we’ll get through this race and the Guineas on Boxing Day before we make firm plans on where they’ll head after that.”


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