Te Akau Shines at Matamata Season Awards

Date: 25 Aug 2023

Te Akau Shines at Matamata Season Awards


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


For Te Akau, Joe Kamaruddin won Champion Apprentice, Stephanie Hyde-Richards was named Stable-Hand/Strapper of the Year, and Mark Walker was awarded the Trainer of the Year title. Our equine honours saw Tokyo Tycoon (Satono Aladdin) crowned Champion Two-Year-Old, while Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) was named Champion Sprinter/Miler and also Matamata Horse of the Year. 

From a training centre that produced 12 winners of 20 Group One races in 2021/22, 14 of 21 and 10 of 20 in the two seasons prior, Matamata was again to the fore last season winning 11 of 20 Group One races in New Zealand, and two in Australia.



Also in that time, the Matamata training centre has produced 10 Group One winners in Australia, seven of those from Te Akau, which has seen them capture NZ Horse of the Year for the past four years.

During the 2022/23 season there was nine individual winners of the 13 Group Ones overall, with Australian wins including Imperatriz in the MVRC William Reid Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m).



In addition to Imperatriz, who won three Group Ones last season, Te Akau also recorded Group One wins with Prise De Fer (Savabeel) in the Captain Cook Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600m) and Romancing The Moon (El Roca) in the Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m). 

Following the awards, Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM praised the efforts of not only the horses and staff at Te Akau Racing, but the training centre overall.

“It’s great to be based at a training centre where there is great camaraderie and healthy competition among the trainers, which was reflected in another outstanding season,” he said.

“It just shows what a fantastic job Graeme Styles and his track staff do in keeping the facilities in first-class order and it shows in the results.”



Past President and RaceForm 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.



“Once again Te Akau Racing has played a dominant role both locally and elsewhere. In his first full season since returning from Singapore, Mark Walker smashed all previous records with 203 wins in NZ and total domestic stakes of more than $8.25 million. He also won at Group One level in Australia with Imperatriz, and we wish Team Te Akau all the very best with their soon-to-be opened Cranbourne stable.”




Joe Kamaruddin won Champion Apprentice Jockey for the second year in succession.



Following 62 wins in 2021/22, he recorded 55 wins last season which included stakes wins for Te Akau aboard La Flora Belle (Iffraaj) in the Wanganui Cup (Listed, 2040m), Perfect Scenario (Iffraaj) in the White Robe Lodge (Gr. 3, 1600m), and Romancing The Moon (El Roca) in the NZB Insurance Stakes (Listed, 1400m).




Contributing to her Stable-Hand/Strapper Award, Stephanie Hyde-Richards formed a great relationship with Champion Two-Year-Old Tokyo Tycoon (2 g Satono Aladdin – All About The Coin, by Starcraft), strapping the gifted athlete to become the seventh consecutive Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m) winner for the stable, and when winning the Matamata Slipper (Gr. 3, 1200m).



She strapped Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m) winner Romancing The Moon (3 f El Roca – Underthemoonlight, by El Hermano), glam filly Zourion (2 f Zoustar – Irion, by Danroad) when winning on debut before taking out the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m), giving Te Akau their eighth win in the event, Brando (5 g Savabeel – Saoirse, by Iffraaj) in the Japan Trophy (Gr. 2, 1600m), impressive dual winning filly Stella Splendida (3 f Zoustar – Scintillula, by Galileo) when scoring on debut, very good mare Aris Aris (4 m Contributer – Irish Encore, by Darci Brahma), and quite a few others too. 




Training Award winner Mark Walker, a world-class horse trainer in any language, has been Champion Trainer 10 times (six in New Zealand, and four in Singapore).

Following 10 years training for Te Akau in Singapore, recording 685 wins including nine stakes wins (2 x Group One), Walker took up the reins again on 1 April 2022 for Te Akau in New Zealand. 

In the 2022/23 season, Walker had a record-breaking 203 wins, surpassing the previous best (160) set by Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards in 2020/21.



In a season of milestones, Walker recorded his 100th NZ stakes win in November 2022, the fastest century on 13 January, and his 1000th domestic win in February.

Walker has registered more than 1770 wins as a trainer, including 127 stakes wins in NZ. 

Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM, who has worked with Walker throughout his career, has said many times that Mark has a unique ability to understand the mental side of horses and in turn get the best from them. 




Champion Two-Year-Old Tokyo Tycoon (2 g Satono Aladdin – All About The Coin, by Starcraft) provided Te Akau their seventh consecutive $1m Doubletree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m) last season. 

Beginning from barrier 13 of 14, franking the performance of retired stable star, dual Horse of the Year, and historic Karaka Million double winner Probabeel (Savabeel), when she killed them from the outside gate, Tokyo Tycoon announced himself as a star in the making.



He added the Matamata Slipper (Gr. 3, 1200m) in a season of four wins from five starts and earnings of $648,000.

Owned by Meadowbank Masters Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM) & Te Akau Satono Samurai Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Tokyo Tycoon was purchased by David Ellis CNZM at the 2022 Karaka Book 1 Sale, paying $125,000, from the draft of Rich Hill Stud.  




Champion Sprinter/Miler and Matamata Horse of the Year Imperatriz (4 m I Am Invincible – Berimbau, by Shamardal) was the reigning NZ Champion Three-Year-Old and a strong NZ Horse of the Year contender.

Purchased for $360,000 by David Ellis CNZM at the Gold Coast Yearling Sale 2020, from the draft of Bhima Thoroughbreds, Imperatriz is owned by Te Akau Invincible Empress Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

Recording her fifth Group One win in the $1m 3 Point Motors William Reid Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) on 24 March at Moonee Valley, Imperatriz extended her record to 13 wins from 19 starts and prize money of $1,828,660.



Exuding special qualities when unbeaten as a two-year-old, including the Eclipse Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m), she won both the Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m) and NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600m) at three, and dominated again this season with additional Group One victories in the Sistema Railway (Gr. 1, 1200m) and BCD Sprint (Gr. 1, 1400m). 



Winning the award for the eighth consecutive year, Te Akau had previously won Matamata Horse of the Year with Gingernuts (Iffraaj), Xtravagant (Pentire), Avantage (Fastnet Rock), and twice each with Melody Belle (Commands) and Probabeel (Savabeel), who were each dual NZ Horse of the Year winners. 



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