Te Akau Shines at Matamata Awards

Date: 25 Sep 2022

Te Akau Shines at Matamata Awards


Matamata Racing Club, the second largest training centre in New Zealand, held its annual racing awards on Thursday at the local course.


Having been dominant winners at the New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards earlier in September, Te Akau followed up by seven local trophies.

Maven Belle (Burgundy) was named Champion Two-Year-Old, Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) Champion Three-Year-Old, Joe Kamaruddin was Champion Apprentice, Hunter Durrant became Champion Track Work Rider, Jamie Richards was Champion Trainer, and Probabeel (Savabeel) won both Champion Stayer and Matamata Horse of the Year.



From a training centre that produced 12 winners of 20 Group One races last season, 14 of 21 in 2020, and 10 of 20 in 2019, Te Akau, quite incredibly, won Champion Two-Year-Old, Champion Three-Year-Old, and Matamata Horse of the Year for the seventh consecutive time.

Also in that time, the training centre has produced eight Group One winners in Australia, six of those from the Te Akau stable, which has helped them capture NZ Horse of the Year for the past four years.

Past Club President and Racing Editor Dennis Ryan said: “There is no fluke about results of that magnitude, reflecting the quality of horses prepared in Matamata, the skills of the trainers entrusted with them, and the training facilities at their disposal.”

When presenting the R. C. Blake Champion Two-Year-Old award to David Ellis, on behalf of Maven Belle, Roger Blake said: “I can remember you David when you started out training in a very humble way here in Matamata, and through sheer dedication, hard work, and a professional approach, you and the training team have built Te Akau into what it is today.



“Not only the biggest stable in the country, but leading trainer nine times, and the Matamata Racing Club is proud to have you as part of the training centre, and we wish you all the best, Mark, and the team for the 2022/23 season.”

When Joe Kamaruddin won the Lindsay Family Champion Apprentice Jockey, Stephen Lindsay said: “Joe rides for a stable that has got 33 winners in the first 52 days of the season. I have never seen anything like it and good luck for the rest of the season.”



Accepting the D. W. Moss Champion Stayer Award and Horse of the Year Award on behalf of owners Brendan Lindsay MNZM and Jo Lindsay, Cambridge Stud representative Cameron Ring said: “Thank you to David and Karyn for buying Probabeel as a yearling and the Te Akau team for the amazing training performance to have her come back in better shape season after season.

“She's been an amazing mare for our team and I'm happy to say that she's under service to Almanzor, so we're looking forward to the next chapter in her life. Brendan and Jo love her like a daughter.

“Also, big thank you to Ashley Handley, who is here. She sacrificed so much of her time travelling with the horse, riding her work and looking after her in Australia.

“And Waikato Stud, thank you for breeding Probabeel, it's something we all strive for as breeders in this industry and at Cambridge Stud we hope to breed another one as good as her.

“We know she's a rarity, but it's why Brendan and Jo are in the game and we look forward to her progeny.”

Paul Richards was there to receive the D. J. O'Sullivan Champion Trainer Award on behalf of son Jamie Richards.

“He made the most of his opportunities here and now he and Danielle (Johnson) are looking to do the same in Hong Kong,” Richards said.

“I'm sure Jamie would like me to thank David and Karyn for buying and syndicating the horses, and all the staff at Te Akau.

“Jamie has adapted well to life in Hong Kong, working about 50 horses and hopes to have a runner in two or three weeks time.  He says it's a hell of a learning curve, so different the way they do things. He said it might take a year or two, but he'll get the job done.

“He also wanted to thank Graeme Styles and his team for the tracks they provide for us all to get the horses ready at Matamata.”

Te Akau assistant trainer Sam Bergerson accepted The Patron's Track Work Rider Award on behalf of Hunter Durrant, who is currently looking after the Te Akau horses stabled at Riccarton.

“Hunter has been an exceptional asset to our team,” Bergerson said. “He is first here in the morning and last to leave, and he doing a great job getting winners with our Riccarton team (11 wins from 22 runners).”



Imperatriz won the J. C. Tucker Champion Three-Year-Old Award, with John Tucker saying: “Other speakers have said how important Te Akau Racing is to the Matamata racing scene and to the New Zealand racing scene, and I only want to reiterate that.

“The success of Te Akau has been fantastic and this is another award for a high-class horse that has come from your establishment.”

On behalf of owners in Imperatriz, Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM replied: “We are extraordinarily proud to be based here at Matamata, and it's a privilege for us to say that our horses come out of this training centre.

“Imperatriz had succeeded in a phenomenally strong three-year-old category and thank you to all our team who have worked to make it a success.

“Thanks to David for buying this filly; she was the last horse to be syndicated in her year, which shows you just don't know where the next really good horse comes from.

“Also, thanks to Opie Bosson. We're very privileged to have him as our stable rider and he built a great association with the filly.

“The owners in the filly, I know how passionate they are about her and they love her to pieces.”

In conclusion of the evening, Ellis said: “I'd like to thank the Matamata Racing Club for putting on the award function and making welcome all the people that work at the training centre each day.

“I'd like to personally congratulate everybody who works at every stable in Matamata, for all the hard work they put in.  The last three months hasn't been very pleasant, but they do it because they love the horses. We wouldn't have an industry without the work being put in at ground level and I take my hat off to you all.

“I'd also like to congratulate (course manager) Graeme Styles. He and his team do a fantastic job, leading the field, in presenting the tracks.

“We can only buy horses if they have good tracks to work on and at Matamata they get the best facilities available.

“And just touching again on Maven Belle, she's a filly that we bred on the farm at Te Akau Stud, and she gave us enormous thrills when Jamie (Richards) trained her to win our seventh Matamata Breeders' Stakes, and when Mark (Walker) trained her to win our seventh Sires' Produce Stakes.”


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