Te Akau Tuesday Update

Date: 14 Nov 2023

Te Akau Tuesday Update


David writes:


Goodness - what a busy two weeks it has been since I last shared our news and my thoughts with you!

On Thursday before the VRC Derby Day, I flew over to Melbourne to join Karyn for the Saturday races and Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday at Flemington.

It was a busy time - on the Friday we were guests at the Carbine Club luncheon on Derby Eve, an event attended by 900 people.

The guest speaker was Alan Jones AO. He is a well known broadcaster and was also coach of the Wallabies rugby team. He gave one of the most outstanding 'off the cuff' speeches I have ever heard - just so interesting and he captivated the whole audience. He doesn't hold back on his views, certainly doesn't relate to being 'woke', and that bold approach was very well received. He spoke so much common sense about rugby, racing and life in general, it really was an address I will always remember.



Saturday was Derby Day with over 80,000 people on course at Flemington and, as anyone who has been there will know, the Victoria Racing Club does everything just so professionally.

On Sunday I spent the morning at our Cranbourne Stable. Des Coppins, who takes a tour group to the Melbourne Cup every year, brought a bus-load out to visit our new facilities and they enjoyed seeing our new stable and our horses.

Then back into Melbourne for a nice long lunch with some friends as the next day was Karyn's birthday.

On the Monday we had a few team meetings and then Tuesday was Melbourne Cup Day which is always a stand-out race day on the calendar.

What a massive thrill it was to see Skew Wiff win the Group 3 HKJC Stakes in the Waikato Stud colours on such a huge day - a day which attracted about 80,000 people.  She has been a mare with a few tricks up her sleeve but the team had worked hard to iron these out and Opie Bosson reported she was as calm as a lamb!



It was very special to have Charlotte Chittick there to represent her family and accept the trophy for the brave mare who will line up this Saturday in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield. As Opie is committed to NZ Cup Day, she will be ridden by Craig Williams.

Then on Wednesday I returned home leaving Karyn to represent the team in Melbourne at Oaks' and Champions' days at Flemington - and on Thursday I was off to Christchurch.

Te Akau has had a strong team camped in the south now for a number of weeks leading into Cup Week and the good news is, we will have a permanent stable there after the week finishes on Saturday.

Hunter Durrant is heading up our southern operation and he has a great team working with him at Riccarton which includes Kendyll Lee, Amit Gujar, Hannah Lowry and Shane McCann. They are doing such an amazing job. Before Hunter started, the team was headed by Ashley Handley who unfortunately had a fall and has had her leg in plaster for several weeks.



Hunter has travelled horses in the past for us and was looking after Imperatriz when she won her first Australian Group 1, the William Reid, in Melbourne earlier this year.

It was a big thrill to see Talisker run a massive race for second to the hot favourite in the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas ... he was only beaten half a length and there was a significant four length margin back to the third placed horse.  By Embellish, Talisker cost just $70,000 at the Karaka Book 1 sale and has now won almost $190,000 from his eight starts.

Trobriand was also brave for fourth and both have dome through the race well.  They will have a well-earned break at Te Akau Stud now and be set for the $1.5 million Karaka Millions for 3YO's.

After the last race at Riccarton, our attention then turned to Flemington and what a thrill it was to see Imperatriz defy any critics and storm home down the Flemington straight for the first time to claim her fourth Australian Group 1 - the A$3 million Darley Champions' Sprint.  She has now won A$5.3 million for her owners.

In doing so, she is unbeaten in her last five starts in Australia which have seen her win (in chronological order):

A$1 million Group 1 William Reid Stakes
A$300,000 Group 2 McEwen Stakes
A$750,000 Group 1 Moir Stakes
A$2 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes
A$3 million Group 1 Champions' Sprint


How exciting for her ownership family, all the team and indeed New Zealand to have the highest rated sprinter in the world. She has won more Group 1 races this year than any other horse in the world!



What an amazing thrill she has given us all. Imperatriz will now go out to spell for two weeks in Melbourne and we will have a team talk and plot her next campaign. The media interest in her, and what she might do next, is unbelievable - Mark, assistant trainer Ben Gleeson, Karyn and I have been involved in dozens of media interviews in recent days.

One thing I am amazed about is how much interest from around the world there is in Imperatriz. Berri, as we all call her, is such a beautiful mare that everybody who has worked with her just absolutely loves her.  She seems to have that impact on the public too, the messages we received after she won, from many people we do not know, just blew us away. She touches everybody’s hearts.

It is amazing but I still remember being in the ring at Magic Millions' sale and buying her. She was prepared by Bhima Stud which is owned by Mike Fleming – one of the very best in the industry.

The weekend winning in Australia wasn't confined to Imperatriz - Savoir Faire (below) also won really well at Pakenham on Friday night so all in all, our Melbourne stable has had a dream start.


[caption id="attachment_56160" align="aligncenter" width="730"] (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)[/caption]


On Sunday night I was back at the farm and I was thrilled to see how much good quality grass we had. We have now sold seven units of steers with an average weight of 380kgs and last week we had our first lamb draft. The lambs weighed 16.1kgs – a bit lighter than normal. All the lambs are now drenched, shorn and weaned and are spread out amongst the cattle. We will have another draft of lambs in four - five weeks.

I truly enjoy going out on the farm and one of my favourite programmes to listen to on the radio is called ‘The Country’ which is on between 12 noon and 1pm each weekday with Jamie McKay. He is a world class broadcaster of farming news. I am delighted to hear that he is going to host one of his shows from Te Akau Stud in February and we can't wait to welcome him.



Our attention now turns to Wednesday when we have a talented team racing on the second day of Cup Week at Riccarton - this includes promising 2YO Dream of the Moon and Group 3 Coupland's Bakeries Mile favourite It's Business Time who we train for Rodney Schick of Windsor Park Stud and some of his friends.  She has been in rare form and deserves to be the favourite for the event, despite her tricky draw.

On Saturday we are looking forward to another strong team stepping out on Cup day at Riccarton. Stakes' winners Star of Justice and Viva Vienna fly the tangerine in the Group 1 NZ 1000 Guineas while Prismatic and The Mighty Spar are looking to make the NZ Cup field.

In recent months I have noticed that racing administrators, punters, owners and trainers, indeed the whole industry, all seem so positive and excited with the way our industry is being led since Entain came on board. I am aware of some more exciting initiatives that are going to be announced soon and they will make a huge difference too - bring it on!

Well done to all the team at Entain. While it is business, you have saved our industry with your investment and your leadership display so much genuine passion for, and commitment to, the advancement of racing in this country.  However it's also your innovation, your fresh and bold approach, and ground-breaking initiatives that are making, and will continue to make, such a noticeable difference.

There other big focus for me currently is next week's Ready to Run Sale at Karaka.  The catalogue and breeze ups have been thoroughly pored over and our early short list identified. This is the sale where I bought Group 1 winner Gingernuts, Hall of Fame and Te Akau Shark ... and we have our eye on some outstanding individuals.



In the past week I bought our second horse in the past three weeks that will head to our Australian stable - firstly it was Almanzor filly Scottie's Legacy and she is now safely settled in our Melbourne stable after travelling from New Zealand.  Late last week I purchased a stayer by So You Think from the Inglis Digital Sale - shares in both were quickly snapped up!  Keep an eye on our website for the next one coming soon!

Have a great week - looking forward to the Riccarton action midweek and good luck to all our owners with runners ...




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