Te Akau Roll Continues on Home Patch

Date: 4 Feb 2020

Te Akau Roll Continues on Home Patch

On Sunday, Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards and the team contested four of the eight races programmed at Matamata and came home with four winners (and two runners up) - claiming half the card!

NZ Racing News reported:

The winning roll of Te Akau Racing continued unabated on their home track at Matamata on Sunday when exciting prospect Phantom Witness (Star Witness) provided an early highlight for the day.

The Star Witness three-year-old, who was purchased for $60,000 by David Ellis from the Lyndhurst Farm draft at the 2018 Ready To Run Sale at Karaka, had looked a handy type when winning impressively over 1200m at the venue in early January.

A tendency to race greenly in the closing stages that day after making all the pace saw trainer Jamie Richards instruct rider Opie Bosson to take a sit this time after the horse drew a wide barrier for the rating 65 1200m contest.

Bosson followed the instructions to the letter as he sat back in midfield off a hot tempo before making his claim early in the run home. Phantom Witness showed his class as he raced to the front inside the final 200m, drawing away to win comfortably by half a length from Virtuoso Lad who had tracked him into the straight.

“He's a progressive sort of horse and another example of the type of horse we try to buy from the Ready To Run sale,” Richards said.

“With a bit of patience, he's getting there now, but I did say to Opie that we might have to forgive one (win) to teach him to settle a bit.

“He was good enough to sit back, sit wide, quicken and win well.

“He can have a think about things and is wearing a fair bit of gear but I think we've got him worked out now and he looks like he will be up to a better class.”

Bosson was suitably impressed with the performance after the horse had over-raced at his debut run.

“The idea was to get him to settle today as he just went far too hard last time,” he said.

“He tried to go a little bit too hard again but once he came back underneath me, he showed a really good turn of foot once I let him go.

“He's getting better, more settled around at the start and I think he's got a bit of a future.”

Phantom Witness is the second foal of Rock Of Gibraltar mare Fandom and is closely related to multiple stakes winner and now successful stallion, Casino Prince.

Impressive two-year-old debutant Need I Say More
Photo: Race Images - Kenton Wright

Team Te Akau added another impressive two-year-old debutant winner to their season's tally two races later when No Nay Never gelding Need I Say More (No Nay Never) led all the way over 1100m to provide his sire with his first southern hemisphere winner.

A comprehensive trial winner last month, where he defeated Saturday's Gr.3 Woburn Farm 2YO Classic (1200m) winner Bonita Aurelia, the $130,000 2019 National Yearling Sale graduate from the Kilgravin Lodge draft gave nothing else a look in after taking control of the race from barrier rise.

“There has always been a little question mark around this horse because he has just been so lazy around home,” Richards said.

“Get him out here when the speakers are going and put a set of blinkers on him and he really wakes up.

“He'll be back here in three weeks for the Slipper (Gr.3, 1200m).” 

The Gr.3 Waikato Stud Slipper (1200m) is the feature race for the two-year-old colts and geldings on Matamata Breeders' Stakes Day at Matamata on February 22.


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