Two out of Three for Team Te Akau

Te Akau Shark (NZ) dominates the Group One BCD Group Sprint (1400m).
Te Akau Shark (NZ) dominates the Group One BCD Group Sprint (1400m).

The tangerine and blue colours of Te Akau Racing have been carried to brilliant victories in two of the three legs of the inaugural NZB Insurance Sprint Triple Crown Series.

The John Bell-trained Julius (NZ) (Swiss Ace) kicked off the Series with an excellent victory in the Group One Sistema Railway (1200m) on New Year’s Day, but his hopes of the $100,000 NZB Insurance Triple Crown Bonus were ended by Team Te Akau.

Avantage (Fastnet Rock) was scintillating in the second leg, the Group One Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham on January 18, and on Saturday it was her star stablemate Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) who stole the show in the $200,000 Group One BCD Group Sprint (1400m).

A placegetter in a star-studded Cox Plate (2040m) in October in his most recent start, Te Akau Shark broke through for a well-deserved first Group One victory with a supreme display at Te Rapa on Saturday.

With Opie Bosson in the saddle, the powerful chestnut exploded out of midfield and ran down the front-running The Mitigator (Master of Design).

The last 100 metres were all about Te Akau Shark as he opened up a winning margin of two and three-quarter lengths, to the loud delight of his trans-Tasman partnership of owners.

“I’m so happy for the horse,” Bosson said. “The monkey is off the back now and there are plenty more Group One’s to come for him.

“He hit a little bit of a flat spot turning in, but once he changed legs, I thought, ‘Wow, what a turn of foot.’

“I didn’t knock him around, and the improvement that will be in him will make him a horse to watch out for. He is right up there with the best I’ve ridden.”

Te Akau Shark was a $230,000 purchase by David Ellis at the 2016 Ready to Run Sale at Karaka. He has now won six of his 11 starts and more than $1 million in stakes.

“When they straightened and he changed legs and exploded, I thought that was pretty good,” trainer Jamie Richards said.

“I think he’s the best we’ve had, and he will go to Australia now and be competitive in whatever we run him in, so we’re really looking forward to it.

“He’s a naturally fit horse and doesn’t take a lot. He was pretty ready for today, and we know what he is capable of.

“I’m really looking forward to getting him back to Australia and hopefully knocking off one of those good races, because I really think he deserves one.”

Vendor Premier Sale: Leanach Lodge 
Ready to Run Sale: Lyndhurst Farm
Purchaser Ready to Run Sale: Mr DC Ellis (Te Akau)
Breeding Rip Van Winkle – Bak da Chief
Sale Lot 187, 2016 Premier Sale, Psd (Res $70,000)
Lot 72, 2016 Ready to Run Sale, $230,000
Bred by D B Hollinshead

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