Shark salutes in Chipping Norton
Fan Favourite Te Akau Shark (Rip Van Winkle) came from the clouds
to land his first Australian elite-level win in the Chipping Norton Stakes
(Gr 1, 1600m) at Randwick yesterday.
Under regular rider Opie Bosson, the five-year-old gelding raced in
fourth-last position before flying home in the straight to win by half a
length over the Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant (Zed), with the everconsistent Fierce Impact (Deep Impact) a further length and a quarter
away in third.
“He’s something special, isn’t he,” Jamie Richards said. “They only
went steady (pace) but he was good late and is a very, very exciting horse.
“I said to Opie, ‘don’t be as far back as you were on Probabeel’ but he
ended back in a sticky spot. But, when he gets onto his outside leg and gets
a bit of clear air, he can really charge late.
“As I said about Probabeel before, full credit to the team at home who
have sent these horses over in such good order. Ashley Handley, who is
here looking after them, would spend day and night with them if we let
her, so a big thank you to her.
“And David Ellis, who bought him at the Ready to Run Sale and got
all these wonderful owners involved. Hopefully we’re in for an exciting
Asked what sets Te Akau Shark apart, Richards said: “He’s got a bit of
arrogance about him, a bit grumpy. He’s not a fantastic eater. He’s not a
big, strong horse with a big barrel on him. He’s pretty lean and mean and
he’s got a bit trickier, I think.”
Te Akau Shark’s victory was the second leg of a Group 1 double for
Richards and Te Akau Racing, a milestone which Te Akau principal David
Ellis was absolutely thrilled with.
“It’s hard to describe what this day means to Te Akau, all our owners,
and the whole New Zealand racing industry,” said Ellis, who was speaking
from Ellerslie having overseen the victory of Te Akau Shark’s stablemate
Star Of Bombay (Atlante) in the Mufhasa Fasttrack Stakes (Listed, 1300m).
“Everybody wins from our horses Probabeel and Te Akau Shark winning
these Group 1 races. In Australia, they don’t rate the New Zealand form, but,
hello, you’re on a different planet to me.