Te Akau Thursday Update

Date: 29 Dec 2022

Te Akau Thursday Update


David writes:


We hope that everyone had a very happy and relaxing Christmas Day - and we wish you the very warmest wishes for a great New Year and a fantastic 2023.

Karyn and I really enjoyed Christmas which we had on the farm with our children and grandchildren. As usual we had roast turkey cooked on the weber. It was a wonderful day and especially because Santa Claus had no trouble locating Te Akau Stud.  His GPS was spot on - or maybe it was just having Rudolph in charge!

The next day it was off to the Boxing Day races, staged by Auckland Thoroughbred Racing (ATR) at Pukekohe Park due to Ellerslie undergoing its track renovations.

While the location was different, it was actually closer to home for us and the ATR put on a really brilliant day.  Lots of families were there enjoying the racing and it was really lovely to see so many youngsters having fun on their day out.

Our New Zealand trainer Mark Walker and the team were on fire winning three races on the programme - Te Akau had the quinella in the 2YO event with Tokyo Tycoon and Viva Vienna who are both safely in the Karaka 2YO Million field.



We have a really good line up of horses this year for the Karaka Million, as we attempt to win the 2YO race for the seventh year in a row, and believe me, winning one isn't easy, let alone six!   We will have Dynastic and Wild Night (see below) to contest the Karaka 3YO Classic, another $1 million dollar race that we have won previously with Probabeel and last year, Pin Me Up.  Before it was worth one million dollars, we won it with other horses such as Spellbinder and Rock 'n' Pop.

Two of the three races we won were at stakes' level - the Listed Uncle Remus Stakes with Wild Night with Opie Bosson aboard and the Listed Hallmark Stud with Synchronize, ridden by South African rider Craig Zackey (below). All three winners are horses that I purchased from the Karaka Yearling sale.



We were also proud of Prise de Fer who was runner up in the Group 1 Zabeeel Classic while Skew Wiff who was also second in the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic earned valuable black type for her future - both were ridden by our stable rider Opie Bosson.

The win by Synchronize was special as she had been on the sidelines due to having bled when resuming at Taupo.  Mark and the team have worked very hard with this Savabeel mare and presented in pristine condition, looking a picture of health.  Fashion Shoot was very unlucky in the same race (another Savabeel mare) after bombing the start so watch for her next start.



Two races later it was the turn of Wild Night who took his winning sequence to five in a row.  I only paid $50,000 for this son of Vanbrugh at Karaka.

It was a really emotional win for me as the race is named after one of the late Colin Jillings' great horses, Uncle Remus. Opie wore a black arm band to honour the passing of the legendary trainer, and my dear friend. "Jillo", as everyone knew him, really rated Opie as a top class jockey and often told me that Opie was as good as any jockey New Zealand has had - and he would know: Jillo was very tough of jockeys!



Uncle Remus was a wonderful colt and on my first ever visit to Riccarton racecourse, he won the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas, beating Braless by a neck. Braless was trained and raced by another very good friend of mine, Peter Grieve.

The Jillings' family is having a celebration of Colin's life at Ellerslie on 5 January and I think it will be a huge event, such was the regard the Racing Hall of Fame Trainer was held in.

For the first time in six months, we have had no rain on the farm for a week.  We are still very green but it is drying out very quickly.

We are sending one unit of steers to Greenlea next week and then two units a week for the next eight weeks. All our cattle get weighed on a regular basis and they are absolutely thriving, averaging 2kg per day weight gain (I know that feeling over Christmas - Ed!) That will probably reduce to 1kg per day in early to mid January.

All the very best of luck to our owners with running coming up this week - the team is just so busy travelling from Pukekohe, to Rotorua, to Taupo, to Te Rapa. Karyn and I can't wait for New year's Day races at Te Rapa too - very special to be so close to home.



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