Te Akau’s southern charge set to continue at Riccarton

Date: 23 Feb 2024

Te Akau’s southern charge set to continue at Riccarton

Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk reports:

The tangerine and blue silks of Te Akau Racing command respect at each Riccarton Park meeting, and the stable will present another strong team of runners across the 10-race card on Friday.

A gate malfunction causing a false start marred an impressive four-win haul by Te Akau a fortnight ago at the Christchurch track, with co-trainer Sam Bergerson citing this as a likely reason for the below par performance of Stella Splendida.

The Zoustar four-year-old had journeyed south off the back of two consecutive victories while based at Matamata, and will hope to gain redemption for last start’s misfortunes in the Speight’s Summit Ultra On Tap Rating 75 (1200m) on Friday.

“She can overdo it at the best of times, so the false start really put pay to her chances,” said Bergerson, who trains in partnership with Mark Walker.

“Niranjan Parmar was on board, and he said she got back to the start very worked up after the false start, and the writing was on the wall before she jumped the second time.

“We’ve turned the page considering how good her previous two wins were, she’s a well-bred mare that we’ve always thought a lot of so hopefully this race can get her back on track.”

Warren Kennedy will take the reins aboard Stella Splendida, having made several trips this season to partner Te Akau’s team. Fellow Northern hoop Ashvin Goindasamy will also venture south and has been booked to ride stablemate Angels Wings in the same event.

Despite starting the less-favoured runner against Te Akau filly Superbly Written last time out, Angels Wings prevailed down the 1200m chute, form that was franked when the stablemate went on to score dominantly the following start.

“Her win last time was really good, she steps up to Rating 75 now, but she beat Superbly Written there which turned out to be nice form,” Bergerson said.

With several southern feature days approaching, Bergerson is keeping black-type options in mind for the pair, with a potential tilt at the Gr.3 Valachi Downs South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) on March 16.

“We could push them out to the mile, but we’ll just have to play that as we go, if their form warranted it. If so, we’d certainly have a crack, black-type is ultimately the goal,” he said.

Among the stables’ better chances is Cambridge Stud-owned filly Tranquila in the Christchurch Accommodation At West Fitzroy Maiden (1400m), having her second start out of Riccarton after a luckless second-placed finish behind Spot On Time.

“She found a lot of trouble in that race, she drew well and was shuffled back, but she was really strong through the line. If she was to win well, we may possibly look to back her up in the Airfreight Stakes (Listed, 1400m) next weekend at Wingatui,” Bergerson said.

In an open field, Deep Field gelding Bello Mio looks a likely prospect in the Racecourse Hotel & Motor Lodge Rating 65 (1400m), with a tidy performance first-up in the south.

“He was going okay in the north, so we sent him down for a change of scenery to spark him up, and his run was really good first-up down there, he got a long way back and he hit the line well,” Bergerson said.

“He’s got a nice draw with Warren on, so it looks a nice race for him to hopefully step up through the grades.

Consistent runner Our Milly Bee will resume in the Riccarton Park Function Centre Rating 65 (1200m), alongside stablemate French Rose, a half-sister to classy former-chute galloper Burgundy Rose.

“Hunter (Durrant, stable foreman) and the team are really happy with both of these mares, though ideally we would’ve liked to have given Our Milly Bee a quiet trial last week at Riccarton, but they were called off,” Bergerson said.

“But she’s had plenty of time after her freshen-up to get the work into her. She has a bit of a niggly gate, but Warren going down to ride the team is a huge assist, he’s in fine form.”

“French Rose’s first-up run there was okay, obviously she’s back to weaker mid-week grade which will help. She’s not very big, but she’s very honest. Both will be nice each-way chances.”


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