Te Akau Racing’s new venture at Cranbourne gets away to a fairytale beginning
Te Akau Racing’s tangerine and blue had yet another banner day. David and Karyn Ellis plus the team have enjoyed many highlights throughout the years. Their dominance of New Zealand racing has been significant, yet Saturday would have to rank alongside any previous highlights.
The stable bagged all three stakes on the Hastings card and two of their syndicates, associated with Tokyo Tycoon (Satono Aladdin) and Quintessa (Shamus Award), provided the perfect advertisement. A quality field was assembled for the first Group 1 of the season, the Tarzino Trophy (Gr 1, 1400m), and it went to Te Akau-trained Skew Wiff (Savabeel), owned by the country’s leading stud, Waikato Stud.
Hindsight being 20/20, the fact that Opie Bosson chose to ride Skew Wiff in the Foxbridge Plate then stick with her for the Tarzino, spoke volumes. The four-year-old becomes the 32nd Group 1 winner for champion sire Savabeel (Zabeel) and also his 135th individual stakes winner. Towards the end of last season Kiwi Chronicles predicted that Savabeel’s reign, including eight successive NZ Sire Premierships, is far from over.
Skew Wiff has ensured a solid kick off for premiership number nine. He is a marvel. Te Akau’s new venture at Cranbourne got away to a fairytale beginning when Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) pummelled a small but select field in the McEwen Stakes (Gr 2, 1000m). Many Australian commentators were speechless after the mare left the brilliant Giga Kick (Scissor Kick) in the dust.
The 1000 metres was expected to be a smidge sharp for Imperatriz. Giga Kick had the drop on her down the side, but when he zipped around her, Michael Dee aboard Imperatriz latched on to his back. In the straight, she blew past and The Everest (1200m) favourite Giga Kick was made to look a tad ordinary, which he isn’t. It’s just that Imperatriz is super competitive and right at her peak. In 20 starts she has racked up 14 wins including five at the elite level.
Although she has two 1600 metre Group 1s to her name, she is clearly very speedy. On that basis, a slot in The Everest would normally be a foregone conclusion, but the stable will stick to their original plan and the mare will be kept to Melbourne. Since Jamie Richards departure to Hong Kong, the stable has not missed a beat. Mark Walker picked up the baton and ran hard. He has since taken on Sam Bergerson as co-trainer for this new season and sent a signal across the Tasman that, with New Zealand conquered, look out Australia.