Te Akau Well Represented at Te Rapa

Date: 15 Dec 2023

Te Akau Well Represented at Te Rapa

Loveracing.nz reports:

Te Akau Racing will hold a strong hand in each of the three stakes races at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Leading their charge will be a four-pronged attack in the Gr.3 J Swap Sprint (1400m), where Romancing The Moon ($3.30), Cognito ($5.50), and Aris Aris ($6) fill the first three lines of betting.

Romancing The Moon (main picture) heads into the weekend off the back of a third placed run behind Sacred Satono and Babylon Berlin in the Gr.3 Counties Bowl (1100m) at Pukekohe last month, and trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson believe she will be suited by the step up in distance on Saturday.

“I thought Romancing The Moon was good at Pukekohe over 1100m, which we think is short of her best,” Bergerson said.

“She gets in very nicely in the weights (54kg) and Kozzi (Asano, jockey) knows her well. I am sure she will run a really good race.”

Cognito has been in terrific form this preparation, winning one and placing in three of his four starts, including a last start third in the Listed Fulton Family Stakes (1500m). He was subsequently given some time in the paddock ahead of summer targets.

“We gave him a little freshen following his last run. He has got a good record at 1400m, but in saying that he is probably more suited to the mile and potentially a little further over summer,” Bergerson said.

Aris Aris was disappointing when finishing last in the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint (1200m) first-up last month but bounced back last start when finishing runner-up behind Waitak over 1300m at Te Rapa.

“Aris Aris ran much better last start,” Bergerson said. “She was first-up in the Legacy Lodge and was ridden upside down and faded, but she was much better last time and hit the line strongly.

“She has drawn well (1) and Warren (Kennedy, jockey) was pretty keen to stick with her. She is another that has trained on really well and keeps improving in the coat and fitness-wise as well.”

Te Akau’s fourth representative in the race is Wolverine, who has failed to fire in her first two runs back in New Zealand and is being kept safe in the market at $12.

“Wolverine has been a touch disappointing since we got her back,” Bergerson said.

“She trialled super and she wasn’t beaten far first-up. We thought she had taken good improvement into her second-up run and it just went all wrong. We half missed the kick and then Opie (Bosson) sent her forward and was trapped wide and faded late. We are scratching our heads a little bit.

“Drawn seven, we will probably go back and we just want to see her relax a bit better and hopefully see her flash home.

“We have four really nice chances. We just need the right runs and I am sure they will be there or thereabouts.”

Campionessa will be the stable’s sole representative in the Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m), with the daughter of Contributer vying for back-to-back Group Two wins following her victory in the Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe last month.

“She is in super form,” Bergerson said. “Earlier in the spring, her track work was only okay heading into Hawke’s Bay. She picked up a little bug following the Group One (Arrowfield Stud Plate, 1600m), so we had to give her a freshen-up and look after her.

“Since she has come back she has been in fantastic form. She trialled only fair leading into her first-up run. At 1400m we thought she may have been a bit vulnerable, but she was aided by a gun ride.

“She is pretty classy, especially last year racing in those Group Ones. She seems to have found that groove again because her track work has been super.

“Opie rode her on Tuesday at Matamata and said she was in great form. We are really happy with her.

“Pearl Of Alsace is in fantastic form as well. It looks a really nice race and she gets in well at the weights with her rating. It looks the perfect stepping stone to the Zabeel Classic (Gr.1, 2050m) on Boxing Day.”

Campionessa is a $2.70 second favourite with TAB bookmakers behind Pearl Of Alsace at $2.40.

New Zealand’s leading stable also feature prominently in the market for the Gr.3 SkyCity Hamilton Waikato Cup (2400m), with Aromatic the fancied runner of the 10-horse field at $3, while Prise De Fer has been marked a $12 winning chance.

Aromatic has finished runner-up in her last two outings, the Gr.3 Balmerino Stakes (2050m) and Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m), and Bergerson is hoping she can go one better on Saturday.

“Aromatic is in great form and has been running fantastic,” he said. “She gets out there and tries so hard.

“Unfortunately, she has just been pipped in her last two so hopefully she can get a result on Saturday. She seems in good form at home – she is fit, happy and healthy.”

Prise De Fer was runner-up in the Gr.3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa two starts and was given no favours in the Gr.1 TAB Classic (1600m) at Trentham last start.

“Prise De Fer went down to the Group One and had the starting gates fiasco,” Bergerson said.

“He has never looked better at home, he is bouncing around the stable. It is a step up in trip and we have taken the blinkers off.

“It is a bit of a throw at the stumps, but it is probably not the strongest rendition of the race. He has to lug around topweight, but in saying that it is only 58kg, so he is giving some of them only five kilos when he is a proven Group One performer.

“We are happy with both of them. We are leaning towards Aromatic and would be fantastic to see her get a result because she deserves it."


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