Less than 24 hours after producing the headline acts on Karaka Million night at Ellerslie, the Te Akau Racing team were back in the thick of the action at the annual National Yearling Sales on Sunday. Although delighted with the success the stable achieved through wins by Cool Aza Beel in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) and Probabeel in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) on Saturday evening, Jamie Richards had reason to smile after established stable stars Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark galloped strongly between races.
Both produced sizzling solo 1000m gallops, with Te Akau Shark leading the way over 1000m in 58.8, 800m in 45.4, and final 600m in 33.2, while Melody Belle did similar work about 300m behind him. “Both appeared to work nicely and visually they looked very good,” Richards said. “He (Te Akau Shark) worked well in what was pretty much his second trial after his run at Cambridge the other day. “That is his lead in to the BCD Sprint (Group 1, 1400m) in a couple of weeks. That will tighten him up nicely.”
Provided he comes through the Te Rapa outing well Te Akau Shark will then make his way to Sydney to tackle a three-race programme that includes the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on March 2, the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on March 21 and the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 11.
Richards was also pleased with New Zealand Horse of the Year Melody Belle who is slightly behind Te Akau Shark in her programme as she builds towards her main target, the A$5million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Caulfield. “She (Melody Belle) also worked well,” Richards said. “She hasn’t trialled yet, but all going well she’ll trial at Taupo on February 4 and then go straight to Melbourne to get ready for the Futurity (Group 1, 1400m) on February 22 and then to the All-Star Mile (March 14).”
Melody Belle was ridden by Troy Harris, who reported: “That will bring her on a heap, and very good”, while Opie Bosson, aboard Te Akau Shark said: “He went very well and I can’t fault him.”
Richards and Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis, went straight to work on Day One at Karaka, purchasing five of the first 50 lots through the auction ring including Lot 13, a Snitzel colt by champion racemare Katie Lee from the Cambridge Stud draft for $375,000 and Lot 41, a Savabeel filly from the Waikato Stud draft for $300,000. With the stable now having won the last four runnings of the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) the stable will be hoping that this year’s purchases can deliver once again in the 2021 edition.