Te Akau Racing Makes Big Statement at Riccarton

Date: 2 Sep 2023

Te Akau Racing Makes Big Statement at Riccarton


NZ Racing News reports:


The familiar tangerine and blue colours of Te Akau Racing showed once again they will be a powerful presence in South Island racing over the next two months as they unleashed some serious contenders for higher honours later in the spring at Riccarton on Saturday.

First up was Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) prospect Viva Vienna (All Too Hard) - below - who made a successful start to her three-year-old campaign with victory against her age group rivals over 1000m.



Jockey Sam Weatherley bounced her away nicely from an inside barrier (3) before contesting the lead with another northern visitor in Illicit Dreams.

The pair set down to fight out a titanic struggle in the home straight, with Viva Vienna refusing to flinch as she held on to win by a head with stablemate Rhetorical running on nicely for third.

One race later stylish four-year-old Insatiable (All Too Hard) - below - provided Opie Bosson with an armchair ride as he dashed clear in the closing stages of a rating 65 1000m contest after impressing when finishing fourth behind quality mare Skew Wiff (Savabeel) in an open 900m trial at Te Rapa to fit him for his campaign opener.



Co-trainer Sam Bergerson, who prepares the pair in partnership with Mark Walker, was pleased to have the team firing in the early stages of their path to the New Zealand Cup Carnival in November.

“We’ve always liked Viva Vienna although she isn’t the biggest filly going around but she is just super tough,” Bergerson said.

“She loves the dogfight and you saw that today when Illicit Dreams (Vancouver) went up to her she wouldn’t lie down and ran right through the line.

“Her next target will be the Canterbury Belle (Listed 1200m) and then hopefully we can set her for the 1000 Guineas.

Bergerson admitted Insatiable had the stable scratching their heads last season but looks to have returned after turning a corner with some age on his side.

“Insatiable showed a lot early in his three-year-old year but then turned out to be a little disappointing after his maiden win.

“We think it was more to do with him needing to mature rather than any lack of ability.

“We are still trying to work him out but after a performance like he put on today he could well be a horse that would suit a race like the Stewards (Gr.3, 1200m) during the Cup Carnival.”

Both winners are by former Australian champion three-year-old All Too Hard, who won four times at Gr.1 level during his brief twelve-race career before being retired to Stud.

Purchased by Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis for $100,000 out of her breeder Westbury Stud’s Book 1 draft at the 2022 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale, Viva Vienna has now won three of her six career starts.

Ellis purchased Insatiable for $190,000 from the Windsor Park Book 1 draft at Karaka in 2021, with his granddam being useful Australian mare Translate, a winner at Group Three level in Australia and runner-up in the 2012 Gr. 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington.

Walker and Bergerson weren’t finished with just two winners as they quickly added a third with sprinter Challa (Dissident) - below - who never looked like being beaten as he led all the way for Opie Bosson when taking out the open 1000m contest and then a fourth in a row with promising mare It’s Business Time (Turn Me Loose) who looked to be cruising when four lengths clear at the winning post in a rating 75 1200m.



“Challa is a real marvel as he won here as a spring two-year-old and has now won here five years later,” Bergerson said.

“He is getting up in the handicap now but he still has plenty to give as he just loves his racing.

“It’s Business Time - below - was also super impressive in a race where we thought the 1200m could be a touch short for her.

“She holds a nomination for the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (Gr.3, 1600m) and she is an exciting prospect if she can get in at the right weight.”



Ellis purchased Challa at Karaka from the Trelawney Sud draft for $100,000 in 2018 while It’s Business Time found her way to the stable after being passed in for $50,000 during the Book 1 sale in 2020 from her breeder and co-owner Windsor Park Stud’s draft.

Not content with dominating the Riccarton card the pair also unleashed Bellatrix Star (Star Witness) who claimed the first two-year-old event of the new season when successful for rider Michael McNab over 800m at Wanganui.


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