WATCH: Te Akau Season 2021/22 Highlights

Date: 18 Aug 2022

The 2021/22 racing season was another memorable one for Te Akau Racing, while collecting its 13thtraining premiership title.

Cementing a hat-trick of training premierships, Jamie Richards had 117 wins, while Mark Walker, who won four Champion Trainer titles for Te Akau in Singapore (as well as five in New Zealand before that), returned to the role with 24 wins later in the season.

In the 2020/21 season, Te Akau set a new domestic record with 160 wins: nearly $6 million in prize money and a further $2 million in Australia, and franked it with over $8 million in earnings this season.

Again there was a high ratio of stakes' winners: 38 in total, including nine Group Ones. Campaigning horses Australia again proved fruitful, with five stakes' wins, highlighted by reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year Probabeel (Savabeel) winning the A$1 million Might And Power (Gr. 1, 2000m) at Caulfield, Melbourne.

Te Akau started the season stabling not only Horse of the Year Probabeel, a mantle she took from stable-mate and dual Horse of the Year Melody Belle (Commands), but also Champion 2YO Sword of State (Snitzel), who commences stud duties this season at Cambridge Stud. Also New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Amarelinha (Savabeel), a title that by season end was shared by stable-mates Belle En Rouge (Burgundy) and Self Obsession (Shocking) to give Te Akau eight winners of the prestigious award.

Not ending there for three-year-old fillies in the stable, 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) winner The Perfect Pink (Savabeel) finished third in the Series, subsequent dual Group 1 winner Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) grabbed fourth, and Shepherd's Delight (Rip Van Winkle) was fifth.

As the season unfolded, some of the highlights included Probabeel notching the first stakes' victory when scoring fresh-up in the W.W. Cockram Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m) at Caulfield, before adding the Might And Power (Gr. 1, 2000m) for her fourth Group One win in Australia.

In October at Hastings, Savy Yong Blonk (Savabeel) provided the Gartshore brothers, Bill and Jim, an unforgettable victory, showing pure staying resolve, in the Livamol Classic (Gr. 1, 2040m).

During Cup Week at Riccarton, Noverre (Savabeel) capped a meteoric rise when storming home to win the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m). Purchased for $800,000 by David Ellis CNZM at the 2020 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Waikato Stud, and owned by Te Akau 2020 Breeding Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Noverre greatly increased his stallion stocks with the victory, and a subsequent injury sees him preparing for his first season of stallion duties at Waikato Stud.

Noverre provided Te Akau with its seventh 2000 Guineas and eighth for stable rider Opie Bosson, while a week later The Perfect Pink (Savabeel), in the Milan Park colours of part-owner and breeder Tony Rider, led a Te Akau first four in the NZ 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m).

The Perfect Pink became the sixth 1000 Guineas winner for Te Akau, and provided trainer Jamie Richards with his 50thGroup One success.

It was another cracking Cup Week for the stable, recording a second Guineas' double, while Summer Monsoon (Stratum) added the Stewards' Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m) and Markus Aurelius (Ghibellines) won the Coupland's Bakeries Mile (Gr. 2, 1600m).

The stable won three stakes' races on Boxing Day at Ellerslie: Belle En Rouge (Burgundy) took out the Eight Carat Classic (Gr. 2, 1600m), On the Bubbles (Brazen Beau) won the Uncle Remus Stakes (Listed, 1400m), and Festivity (I Am Invincible) won the Hallmark Stud Handicap (Listed, 1200m).

Back from Australia, where she won the Coolmore Sheraco Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m), Entriviere (Tavistock) justified favouritism in no uncertain terms when exploding to victory in the Sistema Railway (Gr. 1, 1200m) on 1 January at Ellerslie, on a day that Self Obsession (Shocking) added the Royal Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m) for owner/breeder David Price.

Champion Two-Year-Old Sword of State (Snitzel) led home a Te Akau quinella in the Almanzor Trophy (Gr. 3, 1200m), defeating Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) to begin Karaka Million Night at Ellerslie.

But fireworks followed, when Dynastic (Almanzor) stretched out beautifully in winning the $1 million Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m) - the sixth consecutive for Te Akau. It was yet another cracking ride by Opie Bosson, winning his fifth Karaka Million 2YO, following Melody Belle (Commands), Avantage (Fastnet Rock), Probabeel (Savabeel), and Cool Aza Beel (Savabeel) - all purchased by David Ellis CNZM and trained by Jamie Richards.

The deal was sealed with a super performance from Pin Me Up (Pins) in the $1 million Karaka Million 3YO Classic (Restricted Listed, 1600m). A big strong filly with an impeccable brief history, Pin Me Up quickened home terrifically down the outside for jockey Sam Weatherley.

Pin Me Up was purchased by Sydney based bloodstock agent Andy Williams, who worked in conjunction buying horses with David Ellis CNZM, for owner Peter Collier, outlaying $270,000 at the 2020 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from draft of Waikato Stud.

There was another stakes' treble on 12 February, when Maven Belle (Burgundy) made it two from two in the Platinum Homes 2YO Classic (Gr. 3, 1200m) and Self Obsession (Shocking) won the David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (Gr. 2, 2000m) on Legends' Day at Te Rapa, while Probabeel (Savabeel), for the second time, won the Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m) at Caulfield.

Later in February, Maven Belle (Burgundy) showed she was the real deal when becoming the seventh Matamata Breeders' Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) winner for Te Akau, in the local showcase event at Matamata.

Oaks' Day provided a Group One double in March at Trentham, firstly with Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) in the Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m), defeating stable-mates On the Bubbles (Brazen Beau) and I Wish I Win (Savabeel), and, secondly, home-bred filly Belle En Rouge (Burgundy) in the New Zealand Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m) beating Self Obsession (Shocking) - a result that brought about them tying for NZB Filly of the Year.

On the same day, Leaderboard (Street Cry) was a decisive winner in the New Zealand St Leger (Listed, 2600m) for Fortuna Racing (Mgr: John Galvin).

On his first day back at the helm, 2 April at Awapuni, Mark Walker saddled Amalfi Prince (Sebring) to win the Manawatu Classic (Gr. 3, 2000m), while Maven Belle (Burgundy) became the second Te Akau homebred to win at elite level in the Sires' Produce Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m). In doing so, she became the fifth consecutive winner of the race for Te Akau.

Clearing out to win by five lengths, high-class filly Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) made it back-to-back Group One victories in the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600m) on 16 April at Te Rapa, a week later Prise De Fer (Savabeel) stylishly justified favouritism in the Canterbury Gold Cup (Gr. 3, 2000m) at Riccarton, and Lord Cosmos (Pierro) quickened home for a big win in the Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre 2YO Stakes (Listed, 1200m) Te Rapa, becoming the 38thstakes' winner for the season.

To say that Te Akau Racing continues to flourish under the guidance of David Ellis CNZM and Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM is an understatement; testament coming in the shape of over 150 stakes' wins in last six years, which 53 were Group 1, and they remain unequivocal in their quest to further promote the New Zealand racing and breeding industry throughout Australasia.

Since inception in 1988, Te Akau has trained 2237 domestic winners, including 342 stakes' wins. Within the stakes' wins, Ellis has purchased or bred 226, while among 83 Group 1 wins he purchased or bred 67.
Since 2017 there have been 16 $1 million races in New Zealand, with horses purchased by Ellis accounting for nine wins, eight seconds, and two thirds.In Australia, with a strong influence in recent times, Te Akau has had 27 stakes wins including 10 Group 1.Season highlights (2021-22) - 38 stakes' wins (9 Group 1):Probabeel* (Savabeel): W. W. Cockram Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m), Might And Power (Gr. 1, 2000m), Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m)

Imperatriz* (I Am Invincible): Northland Breeders' Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m), Soliloquy Stakes (Gr. 3, 1400m), Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m), NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600)

Entriviere* (Tavistock): Coolmore Sheraco Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m), Sistema Railway (Gr. 1, 1200m)

Kahma Lass* (Darci Brahma): Weekend Hussler (Listed, 1400m)

Savy Yong Blonk (Savabeel): Livamol Classic (Gr. 1, 2040m)

Noverre* (Savabeel): War Decree Stakes (Gr. 3, 1600m), 2000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m)

Summer Monsoon* (Stratum): Stewards' Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m)

Markus Aurelius* (Ghibellines): Coupland's Mile (Gr. 2, 1600m)

The Perfect Pink (Savabeel): 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m)

Bright Blue Sky* (Fastnet Rock): Fasttrack Insurance 2YO Stakes (Listed, 1200m)

Belle En Rouge* (Burgundy): Eulogy Stakes (Gr. 3, 1600m), Eight Carat Classic (Gr. 2, 1600m), New Zealand Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m)

On The Bubbles* (Brazen Beau): Uncle Remus Stakes (Listed, 1400m), Mufhasa Stakes (Listed, 1400m)

Festivity* (I Am Invincible): Hallmark Stud Handicap (Listed, 1200m)

Self Obsession (Shocking): Royal Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m), David and Karyn Ellis 3YO Fillies Classic (Gr. 2, 2000m), Lowland Stakes (Gr. 2, 2100m)

Hanalei (Darci Brahma): Wellesley Stakes (Listed, 1100m)

Sword of State* (Snitzel): Almanzor Trophy (Gr. 3, 1200m), King's Plate (Gr. 3, 1200m)

Dynastic* (Almanzor): Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m)

Pin Me Up (Pins): Karaka Million 3YO Classic (Restricted Listed, 1600m)

Maven Belle* (Burgundy): Platinum Homes 2YO Classic (Gr. 3, 1200m), Matamata Breeders' Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m), Sires' Produce Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m)

Leaderboard (Street Cry): NZ St Leger (Listed, 2600m)

Amalfi Prince* (Sebring): Manawatu Classic (Gr. 3, 2000m)

Prise De Fer* (Savabeel): Canterbury Gold Cup (Gr. 3, 2000m)

Lord Cosmos* (Pierro): Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre 2YO Stakes (Listed, 1200m).

*purchased or bred by David Ellis CNZMIncluded in the recently announced NZTR Horse of the Year finalists:

  • Former te Akau NZ trainer Jamie Richards has won Champion Trainer of the Year

  • Te Akau stable rider Opie Bosson is up for Champion Jockey of the Year

  • Te Akau apprentice Joe Kamaruddin is Champion Apprentice

  • Champion Two-Year-Old: Dynastic, Maven Belle

  • Champion Three-Year-Old: Belle En Rouge, Imperatriz, Noverre, Self Obsession, Sword of State, The Perfect Pink

  • Sprinter/Miler: Entriviere

  • Middle Distance: Probabeel, Savy Yong Blonk

  • NZB Filly of the Year (confirmed): Belle En Rouge and Self Obsession (tied for first)

The winners of these awards, along with the Stablehand of the Year, Media Contribution of the Year, and Contribution to Racing Award will be presented at the NZTR Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards at Claudelands' Event Centre, Hamilton on Sunday, 4 September.


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