Te Akau Tuesday Update

Date: 13 Jul 2021

Te Akau Tuesday Update


David writes:


It is proving to be a very tough winter for farmers in the Waikato.

During mid-June, we had never seen so much grass here on the farm. However, the last few weeks have been incredibly cold, with plenty of frosts and the grass growth has slowed right down. Although we are still comfortable for feed, there won't be much left in four weeks' time. But by then, we will only be two weeks away from the start of spring.

Lambing at Te Akau Stud is underway, especially with the 5YO ewes. Lambing has been a bit slower than normal, but I did see our first set of twins a few hours ago. I would say in the next week we will have several hundred lambs born as a lot of ewes are looking ready to give birth.



One of the big advantages of living in a district like Te Akau is the way the community all comes together. On Friday evening, we attended a fundraising dinner and auction at the Te Akau Sports' Complex to raise money for the farmers of Ashburton who have been affected by the flooding.  The day started at 4pm so we made sure the team knocked off early so they could get home and changed and be part of the event.

Karyn and I bought an All Blacks' jersey in the fund-raising auction, as well as the shirt that Sir David Fagan wore when he broke the world record at the World Shearing competition. What a legend he is! Both are being framed and will take pride of place in my gym.

Congratulations to Ben Rowe for all the work he did for organising this event and well done to our local MPs, Barbara Kuriger and Andrew Bayly, for attending and supporting such a great cause.

Before I went to the fundraising event last Friday, I had Tony Egan, the CEO of Greenlea Premier Meats and their new Livestock Manager Greg Clark and agent Alan Radford at the farm for their annual visit. Alan has been my stock agent since 1979 and has completed all my buying and selling of livestock for over 40 years.

Tony Egan operates one of the most successful companies in New Zealand. Not only is Greenlea terrific to deal with but it also gives a lot of financial support back to the community. For example, the company donated $50,000 to the Ashburton Flood Relief. It is also the principal sponsor for the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter which is based in the Waikato. Greenlea is one of the best companies that I deal with.

On Saturday night, we had a special dinner for all our team members from our Matamata stable, held at the Italian restaurant Osteria. We had a total of 51 in attendance and what a fun night it was (Jamie, Paul, Libby and Leanne Richards below)!



It was just fantastic to celebrate such a remarkable season for Te Akau Racing, and it was such a thrill to see the pride that so many young people had in being part of an organisation that broke every record in the book. This season, Te Akau Racing took out most of the Group 1 races, most Black Type races, won the most stake money for owners, had the most number of wins (including the fastest century in New Zealand racing history) and we had the most unbelievable strike rate of 4.9.

It has been just an incredible effort and we couldn't do it without the support and loyalty from our wonderful group of owners.

At this dinner, we announced the Team Member of the Quarter, which was awarded to Michael Roustoby. Michael is not only a talented rider, but also a genuine, hard-working team member. He is ready to offer help whenever he can, wherever he can - Michael is an asset to Te Akau Racing. His hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed and we are very proud to award Michael as our Team Member of the Quarter.

It was also very exciting to announce that Te Akau Racing has a new Assistant Trainer from August 1, and that is Sam Bergerson. I remember over 40 years ago meeting Sam's grandfather Herb Bergerson, who was a legendary trainer in the Taranaki. Sam's father Roydon Bergerson is also well known for being an outstanding trainer at Awapuni - a few years ago, Roydon won the Group 1 Oaks.

Sam has a degree in accounting and in 2019, he was awarded the International Management Scholarship, provided by the Sunline Trust. This scholarship was the same one that Jamie Richards was awarded in 2012. It gave both Sam and Jamie the opportunity to study the bloodstock industry in Europe.

Sam is an incredibly intelligent and talented young man, and I am very confident that he will be a massive help to Jamie with training the horses, and will follow in the Bergerson family footsteps of becoming excellent trainers.



While this time of the year is very quiet with our Kiwi racing team, Singapore is mid-season and Mark Walker is doing a great job with our Kranji team.  Hardly a weekend goes by without Mark winning races, and again this past weekend we saw Man of Mystery prevail in a gutsy battle.

It was a special win as the horse was ridden by our former apprentice Shafiq (Suppy) Rusof (Rizuan) who of course won Group 1 races here on the likes of Melody Belle.  Suppy is a talented rider who returned to Singapore when Mark travelled there in 2010 to establish our Singapore stable at Kranji.  He has recently received a six month licence to ride in Singapore and it's great having him back, and straight into the winner's circle too.

Mark currently lies second on the Trainers' Premiership which he has won three times before in Singapore.  He has recorded 38 wins which is 19 wins ahead of the third placed trainer, and only seven off the leader.  He has also had 44 runner up and 41 third placings - which shows you how well the horses are running.

So yes, while we don't have too many racing in New Zealand at this time, I am looking forward to the Wellington Hurdles this coming week with Richard of Yorke. There is nothing more exciting than having a good jumper, and we have two in our stable, Richard of Yorke and Bak Da Master.

This morning at trackwork, many of our really good horses were galloping. It was terrific to have Opie Bosson and Troy Harris amongst our top riders who were taking our horses through their paces.

As you may have read from our story on the website, Opie is in great shape and is really looking forward to the new season. How could you not when you see the incredible team that are lined up for him to ride!?




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