Te Akau Tuesday Update

Date: 30 Aug 2022

Te Akau Tuesday Update


David writes:


It's been another great week of racing for Te Akau's owners!

Our Te Akau New Zealand trainer Mark Walker is on fire. Our Matamata stable recorded eight wins over three days including a stunning performance by Imperatriz to claim the time-honoured Group 2 Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate - the daughter of I Am Invincible joins former stablemates 14x Group 1 winner Melody Belle and 9x Group 1 winner Avantage on the trophy for this race.

Below from top: Imperatriz, Avantage and Melody Belle in their editions of the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate.



Well done to all our incredible team for such amazing results - you really are stars, just the best team anyone could wish for.

For all the rain we had in the Hamilton area, I thought the Te Rapa track was amazing. The WRC track manager Bart Cowan continues to show why he is one of the very best in the business, very skilful indeed.  Last week I thought the farm was as wet as I have ever seen yet Imperatriz ran 1.13.89 in the Foxbridge which also underlines what a great job Bart and his team are doing.

Imperatriz will now take her place in the two Group 1 races at the Hawkes Bay Carnival - staged on the first two days, the Tarzino Trophy and the Arrowfield Stud Plate (new sponsors of the meeting) . She will run over 1400m in the Tarzino on 10 September and 1600m on 1 October in the Arrowfield.

We will keep our options open regarding whether Imperatriz then heads to Sydney for the Golden Eagle or Melbourne for the Empire Rose (previously won by Melody Belle).  There is no need for us to make that decision at this point in time, and being open-minded is always a good strategy as many factors can come in to play as time progresses.

Both races have their advantages. The Melbourne race is for fillies and mares only, which is a massive advantage. Imperatriz won Group 1 NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes raced at Te Rapa and this is a qualifying race for a A$1 million bonus if she wins the Empire Rose.  On top of that, the Empire Rose is a highly valuable Australian Group 1 race.  While the race in Sydney has a higher stake, it is open to the colts and geldings and does not carry black type status. So there are pluses for both and plenty of decisions to be made as she progresses through her campaign.

We don't need to be, and won't be, in a hurry to make a decision on this one.

It was magic to see Mark and the team win six races at Taupo and each winner showed that they have more to come - for example, one of the horses that really impressed me was Cognito, a So You Think gelding I purchased from the June Magic Millions' Sale on the Gold Coast (below). He really looks to be a talented horse in the making.



While the six winners make the headlines, some of the places getters also showed that a winning turn is close, for example I thought our Not A Single Doubt filly Sans Doute went a really top race for second.  I purchased her in Sydney at the Easter Sale and I am certain her owners are in for some exciting times ahead!

This weekend is one we always really look forward to every season - we have the first of our two year olds stepping out on race day at Wanganui. All going well, we will send them on to Riccarton for races that lead into the Welcome Stakes on New Zealand Cup Day.  This is a race Te Akau owners have enjoyed tremendous success in - our previous winners include Al Hasa (below), Sassy 'N' Smart, Encosta Diablo, Xbert and Maroofity.



When I went around the farm last Friday, I couldn't remember the farm being so wet as I have mentioned, but since then the weather has been fine and warm and the grass is really bolting. We start docking the lambs on Friday and with the sun we are enjoying this week, the lambs are doing brilliantly.

Spring brings a lot of new beginnings as we also start welcoming our foals and there have been two to date - a Savabeel colt out of Za Za Gabor, a mare we purchased recently for good friends. On Saturday we welcomed a Darci Brahma filly out of Fashion Forward who Karyn and I bred with other close friends (pictured below).


This weekend the northern meeting in New Zealand is the Pakuranga Hunt Club meeting. Due to Ellerslie being closed for its track renovation, this meeting will be hosted by the Waikato Racing Club at Te Rapa on Sunday.

It's a very busy weekend, especially in the Waikato, as the NZTR Horse of the Year Awards are being staged on Sunday night at the Claudelands' Events Centre in Hamilton.  Te Akau is very well represented through our horses and our humans in most categories so GOOD LUCK to our finalists!

We have 50 guests, comprising our owners and our team, joining together on the night to celebrate the past season of success - the awards have not been staged with a 'live audience' for the past two years due to Covid restrictions so we are delighted to be able to get together.

Last year it was 'awards by zoom' and the year before, we were lucky that we could gather a maximum of 100 of our owners and friends at Te Rapa and host our own ceremony as the Horse of the Year announcements were live streamed.

Later this week you will see a very rare opportunity being advertised - the position of Te Akau Racing Manager.  This is a really exciting position and we are looking for just the right person to join the team as we have major plans for the future they will be a key part of.  Our former Racing Manager Libby Richards is very much enjoying being a mum to Addie and so will not be returning to the role - so if you know a dynamic, passionate and innovative person who is a confident and skilled communicator who would be a perfect Racing Manager, tell them to get in touch.  Applications close on 10 September.

Have a great week and ...




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