Te Akau's South Island Stable Permanent

Date: 15 Nov 2023

Te Akau's South Island Stable Permanent

 

NZ Racing News reports:

 

Hunter Durrant is enjoying being back at the helm of Te Akau Racing’s Riccarton barn as the tangerine and blue army descend on New Zealand Cup Week.

Durrant led Te Akau’s South Island operation last spring and has rejoined their Riccarton arm on a permanent basis following a brief stint in Sydney earlier this year.

“I moved to Sydney where I was Annabel Neasham’s assistant trainer for six months,” Durrant said.

“It was a good experience, I enjoyed it and learnt a lot, but I felt like the right thing was to come home.

“Te Akau had always wanted me to come back and they gave me a few options with what I could do and where I could go and I decided to come down here (Riccarton). I ran the Christchurch stable last spring and I really enjoyed it.

“I have come back to Te Akau in the last month or so. I will be sticking on here (Riccarton) after Cup Week, it is good to have horses down here year-round, especially with the polytrack down here as well.”

Prior to his Sydney stint, Durrant had been a key figure in Te Akau’s operation, which he joined after it soon became apparent his aspirations of becoming a jockey would be hindered by weight.

“I was an apprentice in Hastings to Guy Lowry and then my weight got to me, so I gave that up. I then moved to Te Akau and it has steadily progressed from there,” he said.

“I started riding work, I was assistant foreman then foreman. In recent years I have travelled a lot to Sydney, Gold Coast and Melbourne with the likes of Sword Of State, Imperatriz and Probabeel. I have been very lucky to deal with some very good horses.”

 

 

Taking care of Imperatriz (main picture) has been a career highlight for Durrant and he has been excited to follow her progress this spring after strapping her for her victory in the Gr.1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley earlier this year.

“A big highlight at Te Akau has probably been Imperatriz and to see her still winning. I strapped her in the William Reid, which was her first trip to Australia. It has been great watching her continue her winning ways,” he said.

 

 

Looking ahead to Saturday, Te Akau will have six stakes contenders, including Star Of Justice and Viva Vienna in the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm NZ 1000 Guineas (1600m).

“They both worked on the course proper this morning. I rode Star Of Justice and Sam Weatherley rode Viva Vienna. Their work was great and we couldn’t have been happier with them,” Durrant said.

The tangerine will also have a two-pronged attack in the Gr.3 Martin Collins New Zealand Cup (3200m) with Prismatic and The Might Spar, and Listed Lindauer Stewards Stakes (1200m) with Challa and On The Bubbles.

“Hopefully Prismatic will get a start. His work for weeks now has been great, even before his last start. It was a shame he ran second but there was a big weight swing between him and the winner. He has come through that bouncing,” Durrant said.

“The Mighty Spar ran really well in the Metropolitan (Listed, 2600m) last Saturday, and we couldn’t be any happier with him.

“The draw probably beat both of them (On The Bubbles and Challa) last Saturday. Both just got back. They have come through it well and have had a quiet week so far. They are very happy horses so we will press on towards Saturday.”

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