Te Rapa Double - 150 Wins Gold

Date: 19 May 2024

Te Rapa Double - 150 Wins Gold

Te Akau trainers Mark Walker & Sam Bergerson struck early on Saturday at Te Rapa, winning the KPMG $35,000 3YO 1100 metres with race favourite Pokuru Gold (3 g Darci Brahma – Pokuru Nugget, by Stravinsky) and in the process notched their 150th domestic win this season.

On the way to setting a domestic record of 202 wins last season, it was subsequent Group One winner Quintessa (Shamus Award) that brought about the 150th victory when scoring as a two-year-old on debut in late March at Pukekohe, and the stable has operated in similar vein this season with an additional 18 wins in Australia, and 30 stakes' wins between the two countries.

In training for breeder/owner Ian Farrelly, who has a strong association with Te Akau and many successes with horses often carrying the Pokuru prefix, Pokuru Gold had raced away to win on debut in the Maiden 3YO 970 metres on 13 September at Cambridge (poly track), and recently ran on strongly for third when trialling on 30 April at Waipa.

With stable rider Opie Bosson aboard, Pokuru Gold began well to take up a handy position, travelled sweetly at the 600m and after cornering with plenty to offer, he gained control at the 150m and drew out to score easily by two and a half lengths.

“He trialled up really well behind (Group One sprinter) Babylon Berlin and I thought he was in with a big chance today,” Bosson said. 

On Heavy8 footing, Pokuru Gold ran 1100 metres in a respectable 1:06.3, last 600m 35.7 (approx.), and shortened in betting to pay $2.30 & $1.20 on the NZ TAB tote.

“It was a really good winning performance, he’s now won both his starts, and great to train another winner for Ian (Farrelly),” Walker said. 

“The horse had a setback after he won his first start earlier in the season, requiring knee surgery, but the way he won today suggests it won’t be his last win. 

“It’s also very satisfying to still be training winning progeny by Darci Brahma. 

“Ian’s a great farmer and stockman who loves breeding horses and it’s obvious that this horse has had a great upbringing on his farm.”

Pokuru Gold is by Darci Brahma, who Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM purchased as a yearling at Karaka, from the Pencarrow Stud draft, and who went on to win five Group One races before becoming a Champion sire.

Deriving speed from dam Pokuru Nugget (Stravinsky) who won over 1200 metres, Pokuru Gold is out of a top Waikato Stud family, going back to third dam Star of the Knight (Sir Tristram), which includes Group One winners by Savabeel (Zabeel), Diademe and Te Akau trained Noverre (now standing at Waikato Stud), along with terrific filly Starcent (Centaine), and Farrelly purchased the grand-dam Pokuru Star (O’Reilly), from Waikato Stud, as a yearling at Karaka. 

Te Akau racing manager Reece Trumper added: “He (Pokuru Gold) has had his issues, but he’s a very tough horse and his trial was excellent at Te Awamutu.

“We came here with plenty of confidence and Opie (Bosson) felt the same way about his chances. 

“He’s a horse that is going to get better with more experience and thanks to Ian Farrelly for giving us the opportunity to train him. 

“David (Ellis) has built a good clientele base and we’re thrilled to train horses for different owners like this.

“He’s a horse that will probably only have one or two more starts this season, and I think the better tracks are going to be to his liking. Not firm, but some cut out of it.  We’ll keep targeting these meetings at Te Rapa, because they always give us such a lovely track to race on.”

Commenting on the season to date for Te Akau, Ellis said: “It’s a huge thrill to have managed 150 wins, especially by this stage of the season, and it's exciting for Sam Bergerson in his first season of training in partnership with Mark (Walker) to be achieving such success.

“The trainers, our racing manager Reece Trumper, assistant trainer Nicole Shailer, Hunter Durrant who looks after our horses in the South Island, Ashley Handley, and all the team, it’s a great reward for all their hard work.

“We often don’t have many winners heading into the winter months, so I am proud to see the team still firing and that’s our fifth win this week.

“To have 150 wins in a season, when we’ve taken so many of the horses to our stable at Cranbourne (Victoria), is a great thrill.

“And, of course, we can’t do any of this without our owners and we’re very lucky at Te Akau to have such wonderful support from them, and it makes Karyn and me very humble.  

“I always get a thrill out of seeing a Darci Brahma win and Ian (Farrelly) is a great friend of mine, and I know how much he loves his breeding and racing, so this is very special.

“Pokuru Gold was beautifully ridden by Opie, who continues to ride at the top of his game, and it’s the whole package of people and horses that makes it so successful.

“I’d also like to mention our stable manager Lena Jones, a very important part of our administrative and communications' team, who has gone on maternity leave with week awaiting the birth of the second child for her and Benji King, and we all wish them all the best.”

Pokuru Gold was strapped by Mahesh Kamble. 

Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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