The Kiwi Winning Streak that Defies Belief

Date: 27 Jan 2020

The Kiwi Winning Streak that Defies Belief

Michael Guerin, NZ Herald reports:

Mr Te Akau knows this can't last forever. And David Ellis says he doesn't want it to. Although part of him really does.

What the Waikato mega stable and syndicator produced on Saturday night at Ellerslie does kind of defy belief.

It wasn't so much that they won both $1 million Karaka Million races with Cool Aza Beel and Probabeel, both trained to the minute by Jamie Richards and ridden like he knew they were going to win by Opie Bosson.

Perhaps the greatest shock about that double was the crazy price Cool Aza Beel blew out to as runner-up Play That Song absorbed a torrent of money in one of the most dramatic big-race plunges in recent New Zealand punting history.

But in a fair fight she wasn't good enough, a very good colt holding a very good filly all the way up the Ellerslie straight.

Saturday night's double was special but even more so is the fact Te Akau have trained the last four Karaka Million 2-year-old winners, at combined odds of over 3500-1.

Sure, they buy a lot of horses, many at the top end of the market but Melody Belle only cost $57,500 and even Cool Aza Beel was $150,000, well within the range of most serious buyers at Karaka.

Considering around 1200 yearlings are sold at Karaka every January, to find the one who wins our only $1 million juvenile race four years in a row takes some getting your head around.

It isn't just Ellis though, he has a team consisting of Richards and Singapore-based Mark Walker. But Ellis is the overlord, the man who started Te Akau and the relentless force behind the Tangerine army.

He admits he can't keep up this pace.

Horse buyer and syndicator David Ellis, right, with his trainer Jamie Richards during the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales held at Karaka. Photo / Dean Purcel
Horse buyer and syndicator David Ellis, right, with his trainer Jamie Richards during the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales held at Karaka. Photo / Dean Purcel

Last year, Te Akau syndicated over 70 horses. That is a lot of money, a lot of emails, clients to keep happy, plenty of disappointments between trophies. And a lot of stress.

"I am 66 now and I don't want to do what we did last year again," admits Ellis.

"It is too hard buying and syndicating that many horses. So this year at Karaka we want to buy less, maybe 12 or 15."

Of course Ellis can't walk away from a bargain and bought three of the first 15 lots on Day One of the sales yesterday, quickly picked up another two then shelled out $800,000 for a sale topping Savabeel colt Lot 79.

Ellis may be very good at buying yearlings but clearly he is not very good at not buying them.

So the intention is there to slow down, even if he is really going to need to control himself over the next two days to stay below that 15 purchases target.

If Ellis was anybody else you could suggest tying his hands behind his back so he can't bid but Ellis doesn't bid by hand. He winks.

Maybe wife Karyn needs to buy him an eye mask if she wants to slow him down.

Even if Te Akau only take home 15 yearlings for Richards to reload for the 2021 Karaka Million you wouldn't bet against them winning the juvenile extravaganza again.

Especially not with Bosson in the saddle.

Kings (and queens) of the Karaka Million 

Saturday night was one of the great race meetings ever held in New Zealand. Here are just a few of the stars:

•Team Te Akau — David Ellis, Jamie Richards and Opie Bosson.

•The Boys Get Paid — turned $250,000 punting pool into $365,000. Should be enough to pay the noise control fine. Just kidding.

•Ellerslie — put on a huge day, big after-party without being overly officious with patrons.

•Savabeel — sired feature race winners of Million (2-yos), Classic (3-yos) and the Stayers Cup with Dance Card.

•Karen and John Parsons — not easy to train a South Island horse to win a group two race right-handed but Kiwi Ida was all class.

•Catalyst — lit the fuse for the night, bring on Australia.

•George Simon — the big voice for the big occasion. Provided the perfect sound track to the racing action.


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