Te Akau Taupo Treble – Win 1 – Keke Star
13 Sep 2020
Given a lovely ride by Danielle Johnson, Keke Star (4 m Shooting To Win – Kekova, by Elusive City) produced an exciting debut win in the $10,000 Taupo Veterinary Centre Maiden 1000 metres on 13 September at Taupo.
Without time for shortcomings by either horse or rider when the distance is only 1000 metres, exactness is crucial and Johnson got it dead right on the winner.
Expected to perform well – $5.00 & $1.70 third favourite on the tote – after galloping strongly for a close second when trialling on 3 September at Te Teko, Keke Star began well before steadying in the early scuttle for positions. She tracked into the clear ominously entering the home straight and sustained her momentum to win narrowly but well.
“It was a very good debut win by a progressive mare,” said trainer Jamie Richards. “We’d had a few issues with her temperamentally and immaturity as well, but she’s just needed time and congratulations to Sam Williams (Little Avondale Stud) and his team of owners. There are a lot of first time owners in this mare and they’ve been patient.
“She’s always shown good ability and has a nice pedigree to back her up. But, as mentioned, she’d just required the time both physically and mentally for everything to come right.
“It was a lovely ride from Danielle (Johnson). I thought she was good and aggressive down the hill (nearing home turn) and it probably proved the winning of the race.
“She’s stabled in the Uni Barn and it was a good effort by Shay Carter and the team there to prepare her so well for the races, because she’s not always easy.”
Out of dual Listed winner Kekova (Elusive City), from a terrific Little Avondale Stud family, her grand-dam, Racing Waters (Racing Is Fun), was stakes’ placed before furthering her standing as a broodmare, leaving six winners of 18 races including seven-time winner Kekova and another dual Listed winner of five races Rapid Kay (Towkay).
“She is four, but she’d shown so much in her trials as a two and three-year-old,” said breeder Sam Williams, who had descended upon the Kuripuni Tavern, Masterton, for celebratory drinks with some of the owners. “I’ve spoken to a couple on the phone, up North. One guy, he’s post-cancer treatment and he watched it at home on the big screen TV and all his family were there and punted on her. Everyone has made money, so that’s good.
“She was an athletic and well muscled filly, but when we took her to the sales (Karaka) she just wouldn’t walk-out. I couldn’t work out why she wasn’t walking properly and it wasn’t until we got home and took her shoes off that she burst out a week later with seedy toe in both front feet. It blew out in both coronets, which was interesting.
“I bred to two mares to Shooting to Win that year and bought a mare in foal to him. I had another win last week at the trials, out of a mare called Gymnast, and they’ve all shown ability. He was a good racehorse, Shooting to Win, and a good-looking horse.
“I always wanted to keep a filly out of Kekova, anyhow, and I’ve got one now that is a debut winner which is great. She was a gutsy little mare.
“Mark Walker and Te Akau trained Rapid Kay for us and she’s a sister to Kekova. And a lot of the syndicate that raced Kekova and Rapid Kay’s daughter, Skittle, are in this mare too. It’s what it’s all about and the sister Clos De Tart was raced by Karyn (Fenton-Ellis MNZM) and her friends.
“Jamie (Richards) has always told me that Keke Star had plenty of ability, but that she just required the temperament to be harnessed and we’d have some fun. She was always anti the boys on the farm here and liked the girls and she’s stabled with fillies and mares in Matamata.
“He’s going very well, Jamie, and he’s an absolute gun, I can tell you. Communications are always great and Kirsty (Percy) is always forwarding on the updates from Jamie to our owners. It’s great when we’re sending info from the trainers, especially Jamie, and we never have to chase it up.”
Keke Star was strapped by Sarah West.
Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz