Australian campaign on the radar for NZ Derby winner Gingernuts

Gingernuts gave Te Akau Stud its first New Zealand Derby win at Ellerslie on Saturday

TE Akau Stud had won just about every race on the New Zealand racing calendar except for the Derby, but that all changed on Saturday when three-year-old Gingernuts scored the $1 million feature at Ellerslie on Saturday.

The Autridge-Richards-trained son of Ifraaj was heavily backed into $5.40 with and the support was justified as it got the better of Australian raider Rising Red over the concluding stages for jockey Opie Bosson.

Bosson was travelling sweetly throughout the run, but encountered trouble at the top of the straight as race-favourite Saville Row hung around the bend.

“I went to go inside him at the 600m mark and he rolled out,” Bosson said. “I committed to the outside and he ran off again.

“I was travelling pretty good at the time and I knew I had a lot of horse underneath me.”

Bosson chose to ride as Te Akau’s full-time rider earlier this season, which was a controversial move, but it’s paying dividends for the two-time New Zealand Derby winner.

“It’s good to win one for Te Akau. They’ve been my new employers this year and to get the big result is what we need.”

Te Akau Stud owner and syndicate manager David Ellis was emotional after winning his first New Zealand Derby for a big group of owners.

“(It’s a) very emotional moment,” Ellis said. “It was a terrific run, so thrilled for all the team, thrilled for Jamie and Steve – they’ve done a fantastic job with this horse and Opie just rode a sensational race.

“First Derby for Te Akau and it’s just a great occasion.”

Ellis paid credit to the efforts of co-trainer Jamie Richards and the entire Te Akau team based at Matamata in the Waikato.

“He’s done an unbelievable job, a really top young guy,” Ellis said.

“It’s a great team effort, all the team at Matamata, they all work so hard.”

Jamie Richards is a trainer on the rise in New Zealand and he was justifiably thrilled to win a Derby so early in his career.

“It’s a huge buzz,” Richards said. “We didn’t know where we were before the Avondale Guineas, but he’s come out and ran super.

“He wasn’t an expensive horse and there’s a lot of excited owners here.”

Gingernuts will likely target the Brisbane Winter Carnival, but Richards will take a few days to weigh up their options which could include Sydney.

“Give me a couple of days to talk to Stevie and Dave, but I’d say more likely Brisbane.”

Rising Red ran credibly for second and proved that Australian staying form can compete in New Zealand.

The Busuttin/Young-trained gelding was a last start winner at Sandown in rating 70 grade and it will continue to improve with racing.

There was drama at the start as Lincoln Blue failed to fire when the gates opened and talented, but enigmatic Cha Siu Bao put on a bucking display and subsequently battled home.

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