Te Akau Tuesday Update

Date: 21 Sep 2021

Te Akau Tuesday Update



David writes:


I would like to begin my update with some sad news that Karyn and I received over the weekend. I had a call on Sunday from Colin Jillings, my very good friend and Hall of Fame Trainer, to let us know that his wife, the lovely Alison, had passed away.

Colin and Alison were married for 65 years. Mother of three beautiful children, Alison was Colin's most staunch supporter.  Alison was also well known and respected for taking young apprentices under her wing. At any given time, she would have three or four apprentices living in their home. Alison treated them as though they were her children and on race days, you could tell a ‘Jillings' apprentice apart from the rest - they always looked the part.  They had freshly laundered and beautifully pressed shirts and suits - and a decent haircut!  They also had very good manners, something "Mrs Jillings" always insisted on.

Like her apprentices, Alison was always immaculate - none of us will forget her pristine elegance, beautiful coiffeur and style on every raceday, and they barely missed one at Ellerslie.

Colin Jillings trained in the great years of New Zealand racing, alongside legendary trainers like Dave O'Sullivan, Ray Verner and Jim Gibbs. Colin was also responsible for introducing me to my wife Karyn - which was the luckiest day of my life.

Colin, we are all thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. You are never far from our thoughts and from everyone at Te Akau - we send you our love and most sincere sympathies.




Speaking of sad news - it was just devastating for the whole team, and especially her owners, when we had to retire Avantage on Friday.  She had been working beautifully and we were all very confident she would bounce back at Hastings from her Foxbridge Plate outing.

On Friday afternoon, our vigilant team noticed some heat in her leg - we immediately called in our senior veterinarian and a scan showed that she had a small hole in her tendon.  We would absolutely never risk a horse in this situation and, given her age and what she has achieved, as well as the potentially very long spell she would require (with no certainty to ever race again) we decided she would be retired.  This decision was made with Avantage's well-being and very best interests as our priority.



The good news is that our veterinary team has reported that while she will not race again, her future broodmare prospects are extremely good.  With her retirement confirmed, Avantage's racing partnership needed to be dissolved and she was listed on Gavelhouse Plus, the New Zealand Bloodstock on line platform for elite horses.  This timing was important due to the breeding seas0n already being underway. As I write she currently stands at $1.7 million, with the auction due to close at 7pm tomorrow night.

It was an interesting day on Saturday for Te Akau Racing. We had some outstanding wins and some disappointments (but isn't that racing?) across three different countries.  On Saturday we still came away with four wins - a treble in Singapore and one in New Zealand with Fashion Shoot.

Our Te Akau Singapore trainer Mark Walker is now five wins ahead in the Singapore Trainers' Premiership, while our apprentice jockey K. Hakim is currently the leading rider in Singapore - a ten win lead even over the senior riders.  This is an incredible effort for a young man in his first season of riding. Mark Walker has an incredible record with apprentices.



I have noticed over the years that Te Akau Racing in New Zealand takes a few months into the season before we find our footing, then there is no holding us back. I am not quite sure why that is, but certainly like our good horses, we perform better on decent tracks!  However let me tell you, we have a team of very exciting horses who are yet to make their debut! It is looking to be another cracker of a season!

We now have 14 horses already based at Riccarton and who are under the care of our Sam Bergerson, our Assistant Trainer. We also have a few more horses who will be ready to make the trip down south later next week.



I am really looking forward to racing in Australia this Saturday. We have Probabeel in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes in Melbourne, while in Sydney, Entriviere will be running in the Group 2 Golden Pendant. Our exciting colt Sword of State will also be having his first start of the season in the Listed Heritage Stakes at Rosehill.

I have to say, it has been an incredibly frustrating time with no racing in the Auckland area.

What particularly annoys me is the fact that Opie Bosson, our stable jockey, is still not able to leave his farm in Waikato due to the Auckland boundaries for Covid restrictions -  yet there are other athletes who are actually living Auckland and have recently been given travel exemptions to travel outside of Auckland for their sport. I just don't understand how one can be justified, and the other can't. We know you will be back in the saddle soon, Opie, and we are very much looking forward to it.  We know you are too, as your inability to earn a living for your family is just so frustrating.

It has been a beautiful day out here on the farm, with team making good use of the weather and out docking all day. After today, we only have two more paddocks to go.



We have been very busy purchasing 12-18 month old steers, as they have been great buying. We had 100 arrive today that my stock agent purchased for me though a private sale. I am looking forward to getting them on the lush Te Akau grass!

I really enjoy this time of the year out here on the farm. The blossoms are ready to flower, the days are becoming longer, and it is starting to warm up.  This weekend of course daylight saving kicks in too!

Have a great week everyone and best of luck to all our owners who have runners this week ...




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