Te Akau's Australian Stable On Song

Date: 13 May 2024

Te Akau's Australian Stable On Song

NZ Racing News reports:

Te Akau Racing’s venture into Victoria continues to pay dividends, with four-year-old gelding Savoir Faire (NZ) (Savabeel) breaking through for his first metropolitan victory when successful at Caulfield on Saturday.

The Mark Walker-trained son of Savabeel came from back in the field under apprentice Celine Gaudray to score a surprise victory in the Darren Gauci Handicap (2000m), his third win from 16 starts with a further six placings.

Gaudray has ridden four winners from seven rides for Te Akau.

“I galloped this horse the other day and thought he was well and truly over the odds,” she said. “He galloped super and I think he was ridden too far forward last start.

“Today we drew a gate where we were able to come back and he was actually a bit keen with the blinkers on in behind. I just had to be patient and wait for my runs to open and luck came our way.

“Since Te Akau have come here they have given me a lot of support including quite a few city winners. I really appreciate the support from the stable as they have really nice horses and they do a terrific job.”

Savoir Faire’s win provided Te Akau Racing with their 15th Melbourne winner this season, with Walker’s Cranbourne Assistant trainer Ben Gleeson thrilled with the way things are tracking.

“We thought that if we can have as many winners in a season as we’ve got boxes — which at the moment is still 20 — that would be the first good achievement in our first season,” he said.

“But to have 15 of them as metro winners — I think that’s our 18th winner (overall) with a few months left — so if we can go past 20, it would be exceeding any expectation of any small base setting up regardless of the horses.

“We haven’t just sent gun horses over. We’ve sent horses that have been low in the ratings, so that is probably the most satisfying thing.”

While a few of those wins came from stable star Imperatriz (I Am Invincible), Savoir Faire started at $21 on Saturday and just seven days earlier former Perth-based galloper Midnight Blue (So You Think) scored his first win for the team at $11 at Caulfield, while Leaderboard was tough winning a maiden hurdle at Warrnambool.

Walker’s 15 wins from just 52 city runners has him placed just outside the top 10 for trainers at metropolitan level in the state, with a strike rate of about 30 percent.

Gleeson said the stable has hopes of scoring a few more victories in the two-and-a-half months until the end of the current season.

“You’ll see a mare step out next Saturday called Puketiro (NZ) (Savabeel). She ran at Mornington first-up a couple of weeks ago and had no luck. She was behind a wall of horses on the bridle,” he said.

“She’ll go to a fillies and mares’ race over 1200 metres down the straight. She’s a really nice mare. I think she’s won five from 10, so she’s a progressive filly for the winter.”

He said the recent hurdle winner at Warrnambool will also step up to a bigger race next start.

“Leaderboard (Street Cry) will go to the Australian Hurdle,” he said. “He had a trial at Traralgon yesterday to tick him over. We’re going to have a crack and see how we go.

By Savabeel out of the O’Reilly mare Etiquette (NZ), Savoir Faire is a brother to dual Group Three winner Milford (NZ).

Savoir Faire was purchased by David Ellis for a sales-topping $640,000 at the 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale from the draft of Ohukia Lodge.


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