Te Akau Thursday Update

Date: 12 Nov 2020

Te Akau Thursday Update

David writes:

The Te Akau team is looking forward to Saturday at Riccarton. We certainly have some really nice chances running on New Zealand Cup Day.

It was great to be at Riccarton on the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas Day. There was a great atmosphere, the track was in outstanding order and most horses had their chance. 

We also hosted our Te Akau South Island Owners' event last Saturday. Both myself and Karyn, as well as our two daughters Lydia Roseby and Julia-Rose Hayes and her husband Hamish, as well as our EA Emma Hyde-Richards came with us to help host this function.

It was great to see and catch up with so many familiar faces, and it was a fantastic opportunity to personally meet so many of our new owners too. We really enjoy hosting these events, it is a great way to acknowledge and thank our incredible group of owners for their continued support, especially after the year that we have all been through. We hope everyone enjoyed themselves as much as Karyn and I, and our family, did.

I was surprised at how many of our owners and race attendees came up to me and stated just how much they enjoyed reading our regular updates through social media and our website. In particular, they really enjoyed reading the news about the farm. It is great to have this type of feedback, and those who know me well, know just how much I love farming. It is a great pleasure to be able to share what is happening on the farm at Te Akau with you all. 

I noticed that this Saturday at Riccarton there are 12 races, with the last race having a field of 24 runners. In my opinion, this is too many runners for one race. I believe that both the North and South Island need to give more thought into having more race meetings, as they have reduced the number of race meetings by too much and fields like that are not tenable.

In my opinion we need more races meetings in New Zealand - not fewer! But the exciting news is that the turnovers have been exceptional, and I can see no reason why there won't be an increase in stake money next year. Especially given the huge costs that the TAB has taken out of the industry, plus the elimination of duty, and now a race fields' legislation, it is all steam ahead. 

When you combine that with the increased turnover, our industry has a very exciting 2021 to look forward to. 

If you are interested in becoming involved in the racing industry, there is probably never a better chance in your lifetime than either at the Ready to Run Sale next week or the Yearling Sale in January next year. 

It is my belief that these two sales will offer a unique opportunity for first time buyers and first time investors who wish to join our industry. 

The Ready to Run sale starts on Wednesday, and as normal, Te Akau Racing is looking to purchase two or three horses. We have had great success with horses bought from this sale including multiple Group 1 winnersGingernuts and Te Akau Shark who need very little introduction. 

If you wish to become involved, please get in touch with Karyn so that we can place you on the priority list - [email protected]

Following Riccarton, I am now home on the farm however Karyn and our daughter Lydia will both be attending the races at Riccarton this Saturday.

In the last week we had 43mls of rain and the grass is absolutely exploding. My cattle are averaging two kilos of weight gain a day, and the steers are killing well. The first 300 steers have averaged 389.5 kgs each and we are sending away three units a week at present. 

The extraordinary part of the equation is that store cattle up until now have been (in my opinion) very good buying and it will be fascinating to see whether the price for yearling steers increases. At this stage I have purchased about 1300 yearlings that have averaged around $850 each. This year we are getting record margins. 

We finished shearing all the ewes and lambs last weekend and all the lambs have now been drenched and weaned. The lambs are conditioning extremely well with this warm weather and the good quality grass that we have here on the farm. 

Last week, we had the job of re-fencing a section of the farm. Unfortunately there was a gigantic macrocarpa tree that was causing a lot of problems. A decision had to made and we had to fell the tree. I was told that it was 120 years old and it was about 32 feet at its widest point. I didn't quite realise what a big job it was! But it is all finished now, the new fence is up, and it is a great task to have completed. 

This morning the Queen herself, Melody Belle, arrived at the farm after travelling home from Melbourne. She ran a very strong race on Saturday to finish third in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes - the race she was an unlucky runner up in last year. She will now spend two to three weeks on the lush grass here at Te Akau Stud. You can see why she is such a good horse, as absolutely nothing worries her. Her head was straight into the grass and then the feed bin.

This week we have also had the first of our mares and foals return home after foaling at Cambridge Stud. Our mares have returned home in such excellent condition, I swear I could see my reflection in their coats. I was lucky enough to see the foaling unit that Cambridge Stud has established earlier this year and it is such a professional operation. I am not surprised that our mares and foals have come home in top condition.  

We have a couple of magnificent Embellish foals this season and our first Embellish colt is returning home on Wednesday. I am very excited about his progeny, and I am predicting that he is going to have a great chance at stud. 

Being by Savabeel, who is by Zabeel, who is by Sir Tristram, who is by Sir Ivor, certainly gives Embellish every opportunity of being a good stallion. The types of foals he is leaving is very exciting.

We have horses racing at four different venues in the next couple of days, and I would like to wish the best of luck to all our owners who have horses running -



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