New Zealand’s leading stable, Te Akau Racing, begun their march towards spring racing with the return of several of their big hitters at the trials on Cambridge’s synthetic surface on Tuesday morning.
The seven competitors in Heat 9, the 800m open handicap, all carried the tangerine and blue silks of the Matamata operation, with Maven Belle just getting the better of On The Bubbles on the line.
Te Akau Racing assistant trainer Sam Bergerson was pleased with what he saw from the stable runners, particularly Group One winner Maven Belle, who is earmarked to join the stable’s new Cranbourne arm next season.
“She trialled up well, we are really happy with her,” Bergerson said.
“Opie (Bosson, jockey) was very complimentary of her and said she did everything right. She was only there for a day out, but she quickened up really nicely and she will trial again at Te Rapa on August 1.
“She potentially could be one for Melbourne, but we are going to work through that over the coming weeks.”
Bergerson was just as pleased with On The Bubbles’ effort, gaining plenty of reassurance following the Group One winners return from a wind operation.
“He had a wind operation and had a bit of a disappointing season, but there was a reason for it,” he said.
“I said for Warren (Kennedy, jockey) to try and get a bit of cover if he could to get him relaxed and breathing well.
“Warren said he was so keen and was trucking along, so he let him go along up front and he was really happy. He looked happy to be there, he pulled up well, so there are positive signs for him.
“We are a bit wary after the wind operation. You don’t really know until you come under raceday pressure. I will say he will kick-off somewhere here.”
Group Two winner Cognito finished fifth and didn’t appreciate the synthetic surface, while Campionesa pleased with her hit-out ahead of a potentially lucrative spring.
“Ryan (Elliot, jockey) said he (Cognito) didn’t appreciate the synthetic,” Bergerson said.
“He was another one that was there for a trip out of the stable to tighten him up. He only looked fair to the eye, but he wasn’t a big fan of the synthetic. He is another that is heading to Te Rapa.
“Campionessa had a great year. She kept on raising the bar and she is coming up really well. She is a nice, big, solid mare now with plenty of condition on, and she will tighten up very nicely after that trial.
“She is one that is likely for the Hawke’s Bay series. She may kick-off in the Foxbridge (Group 2, 1200m), but we will wait and see.”
Earlier in the day, Group One performer Dynastic pleased with his placing in his 950m heat.
“We are happy with him,” Bergerson said.
“He is one that could potentially end up on the early flight to Melbourne. There could be some nice Cups races with some good prizemoney over there for him.”