Te Akau Saturday Update

Date: 15 Jul 2023

Te Akau Saturday Update


David writes:


About six or seven weeks ago, I attended the Magic Millions' sale on the Gold Coast and purchased a three year old filly called Wolverine.

She of course was one of New Zealand's top two year olds last season before being partially sold to Australian interests. From that point she raced in Australia, where she performed very well at the elite level, being five times stakes' placed.

I paid A$850,000 for Wolverine and immediately bought her back to New Zealand to spell at Te Akau Stud. She absolutely thrived at the farm and I was so proud when she departed for the stable on Thursday looking a million dollars.  I am predicting that she will be in for a top season.

Races such as the Group 1 Telegraph at Trentham and the Group 1 BCD Sprint at Te Rapa will be on the programme for Wolverine, then through that well, we will take her to Melbourne for further Group 1 targets.

The shares in Wolverine sold so quickly and we have a great team of existing and new owners involved in her - we really look forward to seeing her progress in coming months.

Another highlight of the past week was welcoming the Victoria Racing Club team of Leigh, Jo and Joe to Te Akau Stud - with the precious chalice of course firmly in hand, and zealously protected.  The VRC is a Club renowned not only for its history, but also its innovation and to take the Cup itself 'on the road' and share the build-up and excitement for the impending Carnival is such a great strategy.

The Melbourne Cup and its supporting 'human trio' really got out and about and communicated the mystic and aura that surrounds the Cup and the great race itself.  We were very proud to welcome the Cup team to Te Akau Stud (as was our team - main picture) and thoroughly enjoyed being part of the New Zealand 'road show'.

Te Akau has finished 2nd (Te Akau Nick) and sixth and seventh (Distinctly Secret) in previous Melbourne Cup's and one day, we are determined to bring the trophy back to New Zealand!  When Te Akau Nick was runner up, he was beaten by Vintage Crop who was the first ever European (trained in Ireland) horse to come down and contest the race - unfortunate timing for us eh!

It's a funny old life, years later Torcedor, the horse I purchased at the Deauville Sale in France for 70,000 euros, won the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan in Ireland in 2017, beating Order of St George and Twilight Payment. It was sad to hear that Torcedor had died before his time - the winner of over $1 million in stakes, he provided some great thrills for his owners including:


1st Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes

1st Group 3 Sagaro Stakes

2nd Group 1 Irish St Leger (to Order of St George) 

2nd Group 1 Goodwood Cup (to Stradivarius)

2nd Group 2 Long Distance Cup (at Ascot to Order of St George, with Stradivarius 3rd)

2nd Listed Trigo Stakes

3rd Group 1 Royal Ascot Gold Cup (to Stradivarius)



On Thursday evening we attended a dinner at the Waikato Racing Club (WRC) - the Board had it's final meeting before that, with the Waikato Racing Club 'ceasing to exist' as an independent entity, as it combines with Waipa and Cambridge to form Waikato Thoroughbred Racing (WTR).   The Club asked the previous Chairpersons to join them for the final meeting so I joined all surviving Chairmen: Duncan Johnson, Dave Smith, and my wife Karyn who served as Chairman for seven years.



It's a wonderful decision by John Elstob and his WRC team and the Club's members who wholeheartedly endorsed the amalgamation - the new Club WTR is indeed fortunate to have someone with John's leadership skill and business acumen at its helm going forward.

Goodness July is a miserable time of the year to be outdoors working on the farm or at the stable looking after the livestock and bloodstock.  It has done nothing but rain here for weeks and everything is really wet.  We are fortunate that we have free-draining soil here at Te Akau Stud so we are in much better shape than most farms.

Our five year old ewes are now lambing and it was great to see five sets of twins over night.  This is Luke Copeland's responsibility - he is our head stockman at Te Akau Stud and has worked for us since the day he left school 22 years ago.  We are so lucky to have him in the team, he does a wonderful job.

Talking of the team, we are really so blessed to have the very best teams in Matamata and Te Akau Stud, as well as in Singapore. Very soon we will be announcing our new Assistant Trainer for our Melbourne stable and this very talented individual will be a major asset to our world-class team.

Te Akau has notched up 195 wins in New Zealand this season (and a Group 1 in Australia) which is a tally we are all very proud of.  This is a great result for our owners, and is the most wins any stable has ever recorded in New Zealand's racing history.  Well done team!  Karyn and I are extraordinarily proud of you all, and hugely appreciative of your hard work and incredible passion for our horses.

I am really looking forward to August ad the start of the new season.

We have the best group of young horses ever in the stable, I know I have said that before, but the quality again this year is a stand-out. In the Spring we will have horses racing from our Melbourne stable at Cranbourne, from Riccarton as we build into the New Zealand Cup Carnival, from Matamata, and from Kranji in Singapore.

It is going to be very exciting for our owners and also creates wonderful opportunities for our team that looks after our horses.  Busy yes, but we love it!

It's terrific news about further stake increases - for example Matamata will host five twilight meetings from December through to January and the minimum stake will be $25,000.

Have a great weekend everyone ...







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