Te Akau Targets 'Missing' Waikato Trophy

Date: 15 Dec 2023

Te Akau Targets 'Missing' Waikato Trophy

Raceform's Richard Edmunds writes:

Aromatic is in the right form to claim a first ever Waikato Cup for Te Akau.

The Gr. 3 Skycity Hamilton Waikato Cup is one of the only northern features missing from the Te Akau Racing trophy cabinet, and the country’s leading stable will be out to change that in the $140,000 feature at Te Rapa on Saturday.

The tangerine juggernaut has collected Waikato Cup placings with the likes of Minqar Qaim (2009), Zambezi Warrior (2017), Savy Yong Blank (2020) and Aromatic (2022), and the latter returns on Saturday in search of the stable’s breakthrough win.

Bought by David Ellis CNZM for $160,000 as a yearling at Karaka, Aromatic has provided an outstanding return with six wins, 14 placings and just under $420,000 in stakes. She won last season’s Gr. 2 Travis Stakes, Gr. 3 Counties Cup and Gr. 3 Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes, and at her last start she collected the seventh black-type placing of her career with a gallant second in this year’s edition of the Counties Cup.

“She was very brave at Counties,” said Mark Walker, who trains in partnership with Sam Bergerson. “She tried her best and wasn’t beaten by a big margin, but the other horse (One Bold Cat) was just that little bit better on the day.

“She’s come through the race well and is looking bright enough. She placed in this race last year, so we don’t expect the step up to 2400 metres to pose a problem.”

Victory in Saturday’s staying feature would take Aromatic to the brink of $500,000 in earnings, while stablemate Prise De Fer is closing in on an even bigger milestone. The 11-race winner has banked $913,000 for the Te Akau En Garde Syndicate.

A placegetter in the Gr. 3 Eagle Technology Stakes at this track two weeks ago, Prise De Fer was never a factor after a slow start in last Saturday’s controversial Gr. 1 TAB Classic.

“He’s getting a bit hard to place now, but we really want to get him to that million-dollar barrier,” Walker said. “It would be very special if we could do that.

“He certainly seems fit enough to go 2400 metres, and it seems to have come up quite a small field for the Cup this year. We’ll monitor him through the rest of the week and make a decision, but there’s a reasonable chance that he’ll run.”

Saturday’s Gr. 2 Cal Isuzu Stakes gives stablemate Campionessa a shot at back-to-back wins in fillies and mares’ features, having played a starring role in last month’s Gr. 2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Pukekohe.

“She was terrific at Counties,” Walker said. “If anything, she’s come on a bit more with that run. She was still a bit big in condition that day but has tightened up noticeably since that win.

“She’s going really well and the step up in distance will be ideal for her. She’s got a very good record at Te Rapa too.”


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