Te Akau Wins 4th Karaka 2YO Million
26 Jan 2020
Timing is everything and Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards got it dead-right to win his fourth consecutive $1m Karaka Million (Restricted Listed, 1200m) on Saturday at Ellerslie, when Cool Aza Beel (2 c Savabeel – Cool ‘N’ Sassy, by Testa Rossa) beat 12 rivals in the 13thrunning of the event.
A week out from the race Cool Aza Beel still had to make the field, but he did so impressively over 1200 metres at Tauranga, and gained an added bonus of drawing barrier two at the live draw last Wednesday at Karaka.
Away well before steadying to fourth, Cool Aza Beel ranged three wide round the home turn, sprinted to lead at the 300m and was far too strong when getting clear of race favourite Play That Song (Showcasing) inside the final furlong.
A drifter in betting, Cool Aza Beel paid $8.90 & $1.90 on the NZ TAB tote after running the 1200 metres in 1:10.5, last 600m in 35.1, and winning by one and a half lengths.
Securing a four-peat in the iconic race for Te Akau, following Horse of the Year Melody Belle (Commands), Champion Two-Year-Old Avantage (Fastnet Rock), and Probabeel (Savabeel), Cool Aza Beel gave rider Opie Bosson a place history and emulated NZ jockey Shane Dye who famously rode four consecutive Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) winners, 1989 – 92, aboard Courtza (Pompeii Court), Canny Lad (Bletchingly), Tierce (Victory Prince), and Burst (Marauding).
Commenting on riding four Karaka Million winners in a row, Bosson said: “It comes down to who’s buying the horses and who’s training them and I’m just privileged to be a part of the Te Akau team.
“I don’t want to let the boss down and I don’t want to let all the supporters down, so I made sure I was fit and hard and ready to go today.
“Just before we straightened up I saw James (McDonald) and Play That Song’s head coming up beside me, so I moved out in order not to be boxed and to be fair to my horse he had a really good kick.
“Jamie (Richards) is amazing to work with. He never gives me too many instructions, but we know when the horses are right. It’s a privilege to ride for him.”
Having won the first two-year-old race of the season, over 800 metres on 7 September at Wanganui, and freshened after an unlucky fourth in the Fasttrack Insurance 5K Bonus 2YO Stakes (Listed, 1100m) on 23 November at Pukekohe, Richards had Cool Aza Beel peaking in the nick of time.
“I’ve always had a lot of faith in this horse,” Richards said. “We took our time and didn’t have a lot of luck, missed a race, but in the back of our minds we thought if he could handle the back-up he could do the job and he’s really done it well.
“We’d been really happy with him during the week and we’ve got a great team of people at home that look after these horses. Mette (Mosebo) who’s leading him, Scott Lucock, everybody that rides work, stable-hands, vets and farriers, admin, everyone at the farm, it’s a huge team effort.
“And a big thanks to Dave (Ellis). What an achievement to buy four Karaka Million winners in a row. We’ve got the most loyal owners you’d ever meet and for them to stick with us through thick and thin. Little problems happen and hopefully we can repay them. Avantage was a classic example of that last week (winning the Group One Telegraph, at Trentham).
“Opie (Bosson) is a freak and when he’s in the zone he’s very hard to get past. He (Cool Aza Beel) probably over did it a bit, from the 1000m to the 600m, but once he found a rhythm he was really good and he’s a serious horse.
“It’s a great way to launch the week for us and we’ll be out there in force next week (Karaka Sales) and having a really good go at it.”
Purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $150,000 at the 2019 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Fairdale Stud, Cool Aza Beel is owned by the Te Akau Sassy Beel Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).
“It’s a fantastic thrill for the owners and everyone involved in producing the colt to win this incredible race,” Ellis said. “A race that was instigated by Sir Peter Vela and to have won it for the last four years is unbelievable.
During the celebrations Ellis said: “Tonight, we are privileged to have with us the best Minister of Racing we’ve ever had in Winston Peters.
“I can promise you that in what he’s got planned for this industry is what only a truly great New Zealander that understands the benefit the racing industry has to the general economy can do. And, I’m so proud to have him as our Minister of Racing.
“He has all the legislation before the House of Representatives at the moment and he’s a man we can be truly proud of a grateful to.
“I’d like to acknowledge that this colt was bred at Fairdale Stud by a truly great New Zealand breeding family (Fell’s). I went down to Fairdale Stud with Joe Walls last December and Duncan Fell paraded three Book 1 horses and I finished up buying them all. Cool Aza Beel is only two years old and the only one of those to have raced so far, but he’s a young breeder and stud master of immense ability and his mother and father (Robyn and Gerald Fell) should be very proud of him, as too Alan Fenwick who is a family friend and earned Order of Merit for his services to racing.”
Following the win Duncan Fell said: “He’s was very strong in winning, wasn’t he? He was a really nice horse and a standout from the day he was born. He looked like a two-year-old and had the best temperament of any yearling I’d ever bought to the sales. That’s probably why he’s been so successful.
“He had a great constitution, loved being around people and just a readymade racehorse which is what we look for in races like this. He’s from a really good, and fast, Australian family. It’s the Tennessee family and that of Gerry Harvey’s very good filly Libertini (I Am Invincible).
“It’s unbelievable to be here seeing him win the Karaka Million. When you’re breeding horses you always hope they’ll turn out alright, but also always have reserved expectations. So, when it comes off it’s such a big thrill. It’s fantastic and great timing heading into the Karaka Sale.”
Also there to celebrate the moment was Waikato Stud boss Mark Chittick, who stands the five-time Champion Stallion Savabeel (Zabeel).
“Two years in row now that Savabeel has sired the Karaka Million winner, with Probabeel winning last year. He’s an incredible sire although not really regarded as a two-year-old sire. But, he’s now had 13 or 14 two-year-old stakes winners and two Karaka Millions in a row.
“It’s fantastic for the Fell family. They’ve been mates and involved with our family for a long time. Involved in Savabeel from the beginning and it’s a huge thrill for them.
“It’s incredible, too, for David and Jamie and the Te Akau team. David keeps lining up and buying these outstanding horses. I’m great mates with David and Jamie. We’re pretty close and it’s great to see them fronting up and getting the results.
“He (David) told me he might be a bit quieter this year (at the sales), but hopefully after that he’s not.”
Cool Aza Beel was strapped by Mette Mosebo.
Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz