Te Akau Thursday Update

Date: 30 Mar 2023

Te Akau Thursday Update


David writes:

Last Wednesday saw win No. 150 for the season for Mark Walker and our team as 2YO Quintessa won on debut at Pukekohe in the hands of our stable rider Opie Bosson before he headed across the Tasman to ride in Melbourne for the weekend.  Her ownership group, which includes Stacey Jones ONZM, was justifiably delighted with the start to her career, and she looks a promising riding 3YO for sure.



Opie then flew to Melbourne on Thursday to ride our wonderful mare Imperatriz. How incredibly exciting it was to stay up to watch our her win the A$1 million William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley, Melbourne on Friday night.  We were just so proud of her tenacity and to see her driven over the line by Opie (his 91st Group 1) was a true highlight of the season.

I purchased Imperatriz for A$360,000 from the Magic Million's January Sale and she was the very last horse to sell in that year.  She has now won five Group 1 races, three this year alone - the Group 1 Railway, Group 1 BCD Sprint and now the Group 1 William Reid, as well as the Group 2 Westbury Classic and Group 2 Foxbridge Plate earlier in the season.

Imperatriz is now a very valuable future broodmare. Congratulations to trainer Mark and the team for another Australian Group 1 victory, and Karyn and the other owners who were on course tell me that they had the thrill of a lifetime.



Go the Kiwis (even if she is Australian bred!) - Imperatriz has now won more Group 1 titles than any of I Am Invincible's off-spring - and he has left some very impressive types such as Brazen Beau, Loving Gaby, In Secret, Viddora, Home Affairs, I Am A Star and many others.  So this is a huge honour for the girl we know as "Berri", after actor Halle Berry I am reliably informed!

Imperatriz has headed home and, after a 'warrant of fitness', she will enjoy a well-earned break here at Te Akau Stud.

Saturday saw the winning continue for our owners with four Te Akau horses saluting the judge.

It was so rewarding to see Brando, a 5YO I purchased from the Ready to Run Sale, win the $120,000 Group 2 Ultimate Mazda Japan Trophy at Tauranga.  He can be a quirky individual and some commentators have been heard to say 'depending which Brando turns up today' but the best Brando arrived and duly delivered his 8th win from 24 starts - he has also got eight other placings to his credit.



The 'Japan Trophy' is a race we first won with one of my favourite mares called Integrate who bounded home to win the race about 23 years ago! I bought Integrate for $11,000 at the Magic Millions' Sale and she won Group races in New Zealand and Australia before we sold her to Japan.  Brando becomes our fourth winner of the event.

Our other Tauranga winners included Aris Aris, who we train for Gordon Cunningham of Curraghmore Stud and Nearco Stud, and also Millefiori. While at Riccarton, a home-bred Burgundy 2YO Cu Chulainn made it two from two having won impressively on debut three weeks earlier at Wingatui.


Some very happy Te Akau winning connections - credit - Racing Tauranga


After Moonee Valley on Friday night, Karyn joined some of Campionessa's owners at Flemington on Saturday to cheer her on in the A$3 million Group 1 Australian Cup.  Gee she was game, even Opie said as they turned for home he thought she could be right in the thick of things.  She did very well to finish 6th in a capacity field, we are very proud of her achievements this season.

She has come a very long way from winning on the Riccarton synthetic track in September 2022 to Melbourne on one of its biggest days!  She of course was runner up in the Listed Spring Classic at Riccarton in October; she won the Listed Metropolitan Trophy in Riccarton in November (below); she won the Group 2 Rich Hill Mel at Te Rapa on 1 January 2023, and was runner up in both the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (to Sharp 'N' Smart) and then the Group 1 Bonecrusher Stakes (to Prowess) beaten less than a length on both of those occasions!



I bought Campionessa from the Magic Millions' Gold Coast June sale for A$60,000 and to date she has raced 21 times, for seven wins and 13 placings - she has never finished further back than 5th and has won almost $380,000.

Karyn flew back from Melbourne at midnight on Saturday from Melbourne, landing at 5am on Sunday morning as it was our son-in-law Hamish's (from Te Akau TV) birthday. We attended the Warriors' game at Mt Smart and had a great day cheering the local lads home.  It was great result for their loyal fans after such a long absence from home soil.

Monday brought the news of Tokyo Tycoon and it was such a shock and devastating for everyone - his owners and our team, and the horse himself.  Tokyo Tycoon has enjoyed a wonderful, unbeaten season including winning the Karaka 2YO Million and Group 3 Matamata Slipper, and is an exciting 3YO in the making.  Fortunately we have CCTV throughout our stables and were able to ascertain exactly what had occurred.  The data confirmed human error - no matter how robust any system, human error can occur, and sadly this was the case.

Mark Walker has had a trainers' licence for 26 years, winning over 1700 races and this is the first time this has ever happened in his distinguished career - we are supporting the foreperson concerned and conducting a full review of every system to ensure that our very stringent and high requirements are always met.

We feel devastated for the horse himself as I have said, and especially for his owners, who have been so supportive at this very difficult time.  We have had hundreds of emails and texts from our ownership family, supporters and the general public, and Karyn and I would like to thank everyone for their kindness.

The winning theme was again to the fore on Wednesday 'at home' at Matamata with a treble - Believe It Or Not, Hero Worship and Zantabulous all recorded impressive wins.  Believe It Or Not and Zantabulous were both bought by me at Karaka while Hero Worship, a son of Xtravagant, was purchased out of the Magic Millions' January Sale - he's a horse that loves winning 'at home'!

There is very seldom a day goes by, that I don't drive around the farm. The grass growth in the last 10 days is just incredible, but yesterday was as cold a day in March as I can even remember. The stock looks amazing and the steers are putting on about 1.5kg a day. We are sending one unit a week at present to Greenlea meat processors, and the steers this week killed out at 315kg.

We have more Group One racing this weekend with the Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes at Awapuni.   Te Akau has the hot favourite in Trobriand (below) with Opie on as we aim to win our sixth Sires in a row!



Normally Karyn and I never miss this day's racing, but on Saturday we will be attending the wedding of two of our very best friends, John Elstob & Denise Bassett.  What a happy occasion that will be!

Best of luck to all our owners with runners this weekend ...




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