Te Akau Season - Stakes' Win 11 of 30 - Australia No.4

Date: 11 Jul 2024

Te Akau Season - Stakes' Win 11 of 30 - Australia No.4

July sees the final month of our phenomenal 2023/24 racing season.  

As we like to do at this time of the year, we now reflect every day on our Group/Listed performers of the 'season that was' - and there were plenty!  In fact 30 across New Zealand and Australia, with nine at Group 1 level.

Skew Wiff, Te Akau's newest Group 1 winner in New Zealand, races in the famous Waikato Stud colours.  A bit of a handful - or character - from time to time, this filly is undoubtedly all class with a ton of ability.  She showed that when winning her Group 1 at Hastings and with plenty of patience, proved it yet again on arguably the biggest racing stage in Australasia - winning at Group 3 level at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day!!

Group One winner Skew Wiff (4 m Savabeel – Starvoia, by Starcraft) made a splash on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington, winning the A$200,000 The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (Gr. 3, 1400m).

Ending her three-year-old season as runner-up in both the Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m), won by stable-mate Romancing The Moon (El Roca), and NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600m), Skew Wiff resumed with a terrific effort for second in the Foxbridge Plate (Gr. 2, 1200m) on 26 August at Te Rapa.

She then proceeded to beat what was widely considered the strongest Tarzino Trophy (Gr. 1, 1400m) field in recent years on 9 September at Hastings, which included nine Group One winners, four of whom won Group One races last year in Australia.

Bred and owned by Waikato Stud, Skew Wiff reached NZ$582,676 in earnings courtesy of four wins and five seconds from 15 starts. 

By Waikato Stud eight-time Champion Sire Savabeel (Zabeel), Skew Wiff is the first foal from impressive stakes winning sprinter Starvoia (Starcraft), and carries a sire line cross of the brilliant Nureyev (Northern Dancer), a stallion renowned for injecting quality into any breed, the ability to accelerate, and some beautiful movers. 

Although stricken by an awkward draw (10), which can prove pivotal even on the wide expanses at Flemington, there was solace in the thinking that Skew Wiff would be better suited away from the rail and so it proved.

Te Akau stable rider Opie Bosson ONZM found a terrific spot in midfield, three wide with cover, and when he let the brakes go inside the 200m, Skew Wiff again delivered the wicked acceleration that sets her apart.

It showcased the talent and sheer resolve of Skew Wiff, matched by a copybook ride from Bosson, who had recently recorded his 93rd Group One win when stable-mate Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) won the Manikato Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m).

“It went like clockwork, absolutely perfectly positioned and rated by Opie (Bosson) and couldn’t have worked out any better,” said Waikato Stud's Mark Chittick. 

“She’ll get a bit more confidence out of that, too, and the Te Akau team said she’d improved from the run at Caulfield.

“I’d like to thank the whole Te Akau team, especially Te Akau Australia and the staff they’ve got at the new stables at Cranbourne. 

“It’s been documented that she’s not been the easiest to deal with, but she’s certainly getting better and Opie (Bosson) and her have built up a great relationship.”

It was the 21st Australian stakes win for Te Akau since Gingernuts (Iffraaj) won the Rosehill Guineas (Gr. 1, 2000m) in 2017, including nine at Group One level. 

Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM said: “It was fantastic to be here and have a win on Melbourne Cup Day, simply a big thrill.

“It was a beautiful ride by Opie and all credit to Te Akau Australia assistant trainer Ben Gleeson and the team that Mark Walker has assembled here in Melbourne.

“They’ve done a great job of training a filly that has been difficult and it doesn’t get much better for everyone at Waikato Stud to be winning a race on this historic day of racing.

“It’s a big day for the Chittick family and Charlotte (Chittick) was here representing the family and she did a first-class job. 

“Skew Wiff paraded looking absolutely amazing, so we were quietly quite confident, and it just mapped so well for her when Opie got cover just off the leaders - and the rest is history - and so valuable for a mare such as this.”


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