Te Akau Sunday Update

Date: 3 Jul 2022

Te Akau Sunday Update

 

David writes:

 

Firstly I want to say a massive thank you to our team members at the stable and stud, New Zealand and Singapore, who have been working so hard.

Like every business, we have people needing time away from work due to Covid or the flu or other winter ailments in New Zealand - and everyone has really stepped up big time and ensured that everything is seamless, operating like clockwork.  Huge appreciation to our trainer Mark Walker, assistant trainer Sam Bergerson and the whole crew.

I inspected all our horses in our Matamata stable this week - they are in superb condition and that underlines how brilliantly they are looked after by our team who is deeply passionate about them.  We are just so lucky to have so many great people at Te Akau - in every part of our operation - Karyn and I are so proud of you all.

 

 

We are now past the shortest day and Spring (and Spring racing) is just around the corner.  It's always a very quiet time of the year racing-wise for us at Te Akau but the stable is as busy as ever.  We have the stable full of nice horses ready to race in the Spring.

We also have a lovely group of yearlings having their second preparation.  Our yearlings have all flown through their early education and we can't wait to see what the future brings for them.  We will have a significant team at the Cambridge trials on 19 July and by August we will have a good team ready to race.

 

 

While there is not a lot of racing action in New Zealand, the Singapore season is in full throttle.  The Singapore season, unlike New Zealand, works to a calendar year.  Our Singapore stable of course now has Donna Logan at the helm, and our Kranji team has had months of wins, often doubles and even trebles at every meeting - so much so that Donna currently sits second on the Trainers' Premiership, only four wins off the leading trainer.

The winning continued on Saturday too with Speedy Missile doing the business - that takes our season tally to 28 wins, 29 second and 37 third place-getters, earning almost S$1.4 million in prize money for our owners.

 

 

We are very proud of Donna and our team and the success our Kranji stable is enjoying this season.

It's also the time of the year that I like to reflect on the New Zealand season that is about to end (on 31 July).  What an amazing season our owners have had. I enjoy looking back on some the highlights:

The season started off at the elite level with Kahma Lass and Probabeel both winning Group races in Melbourne for Brendan and Jo Lindsay of Cambridge Stud.  Seeing our reigning Horse of the Year Probabeel defeat the raging hot favourite Zaaki (3rd) in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes was just so exciting, turning the tables on him after she had to settle for second in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes the start prior.

 

 

We bade farewell to Probabeel from the stable in February this year - now retired, she went out in winning Group 3 style in Melbourne at her final appearance, and will be mated this coming breeding season. What an incredible racehorse she was:

 

 

I bought Probabeel on spec. for $380,000 at Karaka (that's her above at the sale) and in her stellar career she campaigned mostly at the elite level, and in later seasons, almost primarily in Australia where she more than held her own.  The first, and only to date, ever dual Karaka 2YO/Karaka 3YO Million winner, she won 13 of her 29 starts and was runner up eight times (all at Group level in Australia).  Her stakes' earnings stand at $4.54 million. I can't wait to see her progeny!

In the Spring, we won the Group 1 Livamol Classic at Hastings for the sixth time when Savy Yong Blonk got her well earned Group 1 before she was retired to the breeding barn.

 

 

We then turned our attention to the New Zealand Cup Week carnival with Noverre winning the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas, after winning his lead-up race, the Group 3 War Decree Stakes at Riccarton.   That was Te Akau's seventh win in that race.  A son of Savabeel, Noverre was purchased by me for Karaka and sadly did not race again due to injury - he will stand at Waikato Stud in the new breeding season ahead.

 

 

A week later, The Perfect Pink won the Group 1 NZ 1000 Guineas, leading home Te Akau first four in the event - with Shepherd's Delight runner up, Belle En Rouge third and Imperatriz in fourth place.  That was our sixth 1000 Guineas' win.

 

 

At the NZ Cup Carnival, Te Akau also won the Group 2 Coupland's Bakeries Mile with Markus Aurelius and the Group 3 Stewards' Stakes Handicap with Summer Monsoon.

There were so may other highlights, it's difficult to mention them all but we will revisit them all in our end of season review.

Bright Blue Sky won a stakes' race at Te Rapa at her very first start.

 

 

Boxing Day saw our horses flying at Ellerslie - Belle En Rouge won the Group 2 Eight Carat, On The Bubbles (pictured below) won the Listed Uncle Remus Stakes (and also the Listed Mufhasa Stakes in March), Festivity won the Listed Hallmark Stud Handicap and Grace 'N' Grey and Dynastic delivered the quinella in the 2YO race.

 

 

New Year's day delivered Group 1 Railway delight for Entriviere's owners (below).  She has also won the Group 2 Sheraco Stakes in Sydney this season, and was huge when third in the A$1 million Group 1 Doomben 10,000 in Brisbane.

Hanalei won the Listed Wellesley Stakes at Trentham in January - the same day as Cote De Beaune, her year older, three-quarter brother who we had recently syndicated, also won stylishly.

 

 

Dynastic (below) became our sixth consecutive Karaka 2YO Million winner and Pin Me Up won the Karaka 3YO Million - only the second time in the history of the race that one stable has trained both Karaka Million winners on the night.  Te Akau was the first stable to achieve this in 2020 with our Cool Aza Beel/Probabeel Karaka Million double. Dynastic was another Karaka purchase, I bought him for our 2021 colt syndicate so a great result for his owners.

 

 

That same night, Sword of State (below) returned with aplomb to claim the Group 3 Cambridge Stud Almanzor Trophy - half the card on Karaka Million night was won by the stable.  Sword of State went on the win the Group 3 King's Plate at Ellerslie before travelling to Queensland and finishing a brave second in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas on track conditions unsuited to him.  I bought Sword of State from the Gold Coast Sale and he has now been retired to stud duties at Cambridge Stud and we look forward to sending mares to him.

 

 

Belle En Rouge (below) was magic this season and, as her breeders, Karyn and I were over the moon with her success. - and especially delighted for our owners who we had syndicated her amongst.  She started by winning her maiden race in October at Taupo, and followed that up with a game third in the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes and then third again in the Group 1 NZ 1000 Guineas.  She continued to flourish scoring in the Group 3 Eulogy Stakes and Group 2 Eight Carat Stakes both in December, and then had a couple of ordinary runs before cruising home in the Group 1 NZ Oaks at Trentham in March this year in a Te Akau quinella with Self Obsession.

 

 

Belle En Rouge has been crowned Joint NZB Filly of the Year with stablemate Self Obsession.  Self Obsession also had a super season, winning the Group 2 Royal Stakes, Group 2 David and Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic and Group 2 Lowland Stakes.  These fillies have become Te Akau's seventh/eighth NZB Filly of the Year winners - joining Insouciant, Princess Coup, Shikoba, King's Rose, Costa Viva, and lost year's winner Amarelinha.

At that Trentham meeting in March there were five black type races and Te Akau horses won three (including both Group 1 races, including a stable quinella) and were runners up in the other two.  Leaderboard was the other winner on the day, giving Fortuna Racing the prize in the Listed St Ledger.

While Belle En Rouge win the Oaks, another of our 3YO fillies stepped into Group 1 stardom that same day - Imperatriz (below) was super impressive when winning the Group 1 Levin Classic, leading home a stable trifecta with On The Bubbles and I Wish I Win filling the other placings. Imperatriz has enjoyed a stunning season - after her Trentham victory she went on to make it back to back Group 1 wins, claiming the  Group 1 NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes, beating the older horses by five lengths.

 

 

Earlier in the season, Imperatriz had won the Group 3 Northland Breeders' Stakes, Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes and the Lisa Chittick Plate.  She was runner up in the Group 3 Almanzor Trophy (to Sword of State),  third in the Group 3 Eulogy Stakes and 4th in the Group 1 NZ 1000 Guineas - winning five of her eight starts this season.  I purchased her from the Gold Coast Sale and she has raced 10 times for seven wins and three placings, never further back than that 1000 Guineas' fourth.  To date she has earned $499,700 for her owners.

Maven Belle (below) is another 'home bred' filly that we syndicated amongst our owners and what a season this 2YO filly has had.  A winner on debut, she won the Group 3 Taranaki 2YO Classic at just her second start, then the Group 2 Matamata Breeders' Stakes at her third. At her fifth and final start of the season, she was victorious in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes - Te Akau's 7th win of this race, the last five in a row.

The winner of four of her five starts, she should arguably be unbeaten - she was mighty unlucky when held up at a vital stage when 3rd in the Group 1 Sistema Stakes - beaten a nose and a head.

 

 

It was also a special win by Maven Belle, as the Group 1 came on Mark Walker's first official day back training - he also won the Group 3 Manawatu Classic with Amalfi Prince that day too. Belle En Rouge and Maven Belle are both by my favourite horse of all time, Burgundy. A half brother to Darci Brahma, I bought him as a yearling at Karaka.

Other season highlights, and there are too many to mention, include Prise De Fer winning the Canterbury Gold Cup at Riccarton and Lord Cosmos prevailing in the Listed Waikato Equine Stakes at Te Rapa.

In total Te Akau has won 38 Group/Listed races for our owners this season - 33 in New Zealand and 5 in Australia. A stable can only achieve these results with three crucial ingredients - top horses, top owners and a top team.  We are again, so very grateful and appreciative to you all - our horses and our humans!

 

 

It's another massive thrill that we have sold every share in every horse we have bought from the yearling sales at Karaka and Australia.  Again we put together a colt (and a filly) syndicate - and I am proud that we now have seven stallions at stud - three in Australia and four in New Zealand.  We are sending mares to them all this season:

Our Group 1 winners Cool Aza Beel, Darci Brahma, Embellish, Heroic Valour, Noverre, Sword of State and Xtravagant (below).

 

 

The grass on the farm is growing well but we are really playing catch up with the sheep and cattle after a very dry autumn.  Our 5YO ewes start lambing in about ten days and the mixed age ewes in about three weeks.  It's always a really lovely time of the year.

Our attention soon turns to the new season and we will have good numbers of horses trialling very soon in readiness.  I have also just completed our broodmare mating plans for the upcoming breeding season too, so plenty to do, plenty to look forward to.

Karyn and I are heading off this week for a break.  It's been three years since we have been able to travel to one of our favourite spots and we are very excited.  We stay in touch even when we are away so keep an eye out for all the "tangerine team's" news on our website, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

 

 

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