Te Akau Ready to Rock The Valley

Date: 20 Mar 2024

Te Akau Ready to Rock The Valley

Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM is looking forward to attending the meeting on Saturday at Moonee Valley, where the stable has six runners including four in Group races.

In addition to stables at Matamata, Riccarton, and Singapore, Te Akau has a burgeoning stable at Cranbourne (Victoria), where trainer Mark Walker has had 11 metropolitan wins this season in Melbourne, and has the highest winning percentage (30%) among the top 20 trainers.

Among the six runners on Saturday, Walker has Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) winner Quintessa (Shamus Award) in the A$500,000 Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m); last start Group 3 Mufasa Stakes (1400m) winner Certainly (Savabeel) in the A$200,000 Group 3 Alexandra Stakes (1600m); nine-time Group One winner and defending title-holder Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) in the A$1 million Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m), and Group One winner and last start Group 1 Caulfield winner Campionessa (Contributer) in the A$300,000 Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m).

While Waikato Stud colours adorn Certainly, the other three were purchased as yearlings by Ellis.

“Karyn and I are travelling over to host our owners and while we’re under no illusions about the quality of the fields, we’re excited about being part of it with some very good chances,” Ellis said.

“It’s a massive day for Te Akau and may well be the most stakes' runners a New Zealand stable has ever had on a major race day in Australia. 

“Quintessa ran a great race for fourth in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) last start and I think she’ll appreciate getting up in trip.

“Imperatriz was very tough running second as top-weight in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) last time, is unbeaten in four starts at Moonee Valley, and is hopefully able to win back-to-back Group 1 William Reid's.

“Waikato Stud's Certainly showed how good she was at Ellerslie during Cup Week and is a high quality filly with real ability, and Campionessa, well she just keeps getting better and better with age and is one of the gamest mares we’ve got in the stable. So we’re looking forward to seeing how it unfolds on Saturday.”

Leading buyer for the 19th consecutive year at the Karaka Sales in January, following his notable impact at the Magic Millions Sale on the Gold Coast where he was third leading buyer, Ellis has purchased 50 horses since the Ready To Run last November, and spent nearly $16 million in the process.

“We based our spend on Australia being the fastest growing and most lucrative racing jurisdiction in the world, and New Zealand prize money going ahead in leaps and bounds with the incredible input by Entain in partnering the NZ TAB,” he said.

“We’ve still got shares to sell in horses, but overall the uptake and support by the loyal Te Akau owner base and new owners has been quite overwhelming.

“People want to see horse racing flourish in New Zealand, they’re very passionate about it, and given the increase in stakes, they’re getting more and more involved in syndication ownership.

“It’s not just Te Akau, but other syndicators are going well too, and, really, we’re all in this together to make sure we have good quality horses racing in New Zealand, that if they perform well enough can go over and give them a shake in Australia.

“We’re really happy with our timing in getting our stable up and running this season in Melbourne, and the training facilities at Cranbourne are absolutely world-class.  Our Melbourne stable is flying, with new owners, and one of the very best strike rates you would find.

“I’ve spent my life working in farming and horse racing, just because I find it such an enjoyable industry to be involved in. Karyn too, from broadcasting, to Club leadership and both Karyn and I love the thrills racing gives our owners and families when their horse wins, and along with all our great team we are totally dedicated to ensuring racing flourishes.”


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