Te Akau Sets Early Season Pace

Date: 4 Sep 2023

Te Akau Sets Early Season Pace


Michael Guerin, NZ Herald reports:


Racing powerhouse Te Akau have bad news for the South Island trainers they have spent the last two weeks beating up on; they have reinforcements on the way.

The record-setting stable are already making a one-horse race of their premiership defence with seven winners in three days starting last Thursday, six of them at Riccarton.

That included four in a row on Saturday when Viva Vienna, Insatiable, Challa and the impressive It’s Business Time won consecutive races.

After two the previous Thursday and three the Thursday before at Riccarton, the Matamata stable’s strike rate in the south is so dominant, it is hard to make a case to bet against them in any race there.

It is lucrative business, too, with the stakes at Riccarton as good as most tracks in the North Island but the opposition weaker.

“We have 14 horses down there now and our staff are doing a great job with them,” says Te Akau junior training partner Sam Bergerson.

“We have three more horses heading down on Tuesday and then a few more at Cup time obviously.”

Te Akau has had a strong southern presence in recent years and have successfully used the region to start Guineas preparation.

While a decade ago, having your horse sent south wasn’t usually a good sign for an owner, plenty of Te Akau horses campaign there in spring but are just as competitive when they return north for more glamorous assignments.

The best example is champion mare Avantage who started her career at Riccarton before winning the Karaka Million the same season and going on to sweep our Group 1 sprints.

Te Akau’s winning run at Riccarton takes the stable to 17 wins for the season at a strike rate of a victory every three starts, including their first juvenile winner of the season with Bellatrix Star at Whanganui.

But the stakes start to get a lot higher this weekend when they have reps at the first Group 1 meeting of the season at Hastings, including Karaka Million winner Tokyo Tycoon returning in the 3-year-old race.

“He is a hard one to get a line on because he is so laid back at home,” says Bergerson. “He didn’t grow a lot over the winter but we will get a better indication where he is at this Saturday.”

Also returning this Saturday across the Tasman is Imperatriz, who will launch Te Akau’s new Victorian satellite stable at The Valley.

“She galloped with this week’s raceday rider Mick Dee up on Saturday and will head to The Valley for their open track work on Tuesday but we are really happy with her.”

While Te Akau have been cutting a swathe through Riccarton in the past fortnight, Bergerson warns one horse in the early markets to head south almost certainly won’t.

Zourion is back trialing and pleasing her trainers but is more likely to head straight to Melbourne to kick off her 3-year-old career than to Riccarton for the 1000 Guineas, for which she is the equal second favourite.


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