One of New Zealand’s most exciting gallopers has had a slight setback and will not be seen on the racetrack until next season.
Dual stakes winner Te Akau Shark will undergo more tests to try and diagnose a soreness issue and he will then head for a lengthy spell before making a likely return to Te Akau’s Matamata racing barn in winter.
“We just think he needs a bit of time and we are going to give him a bit of a break and get him ready for the spring,” trainer Jamie Richards said.
“He’s just a bit sore behind and up high, they are not things that are easily diagnosed, but it’s nothing of a major consequence and he’s just a horse that needs a bit of time, as most of those Rip Van Winkles do.
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“We are going to run some more tests and go through that with our veterinary team and then he will head out to Te Akau Stud and have a good break.
“He is going to be 100 percent in the long run, we have no doubt about that, we just need to give him some time.”
The four-year-old gelding was unbeaten in his spring campaign, which culminated with victory in the Group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton in November.
While Te Akau Shark’s setback comes at a disappointing time for his connections, given he was being set for an Australian autumn campaign, Richards said a trip across the Tasman is still on the cards for his runner.
“We’ll be looking at spring in New Zealand to start off with and then over to Australia, be that Sydney or Melbourne we are not quite sure, but we certainly think he is up to it,” Richards said.
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow at the moment, but we are at the sales now trying to find another one and we have just got to give him the time that he needs.
“I am sure he will look after us if we look after him.”