Te Akau Racing are never short of quality juveniles, and New Zealand’s leading stable is hoping to unearth a few more at Trentham this weekend.
Trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson will line-up three fillies in the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m), with the hope of gaining some valuable black-type for their future breeding careers.
Magic Millions yearling purchases Captured By Love and Dream Of The Moon both take last start victories into the race, with the former installed as a $5 second favourite by bookmakers behind the Andrew Forsman-trained Red Sea at $3.50, with Dream Of The Moon sharing the third line of betting at $5.
Captured by Love, who was purchased by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis for A$525,000 earlier this year, made the perfect start to her racing career when winning on debut over 1000m at Tauherenikau last month.
While her trainers believe she will be better with time, they are hoping they can snare some early black-type with her on Saturday.
“Captured by Love is a really nice filly we paid plenty of money for and she is developing into a beautiful filly,” Sam Bergerson said.
“She was a little bit green in her first start, but we think she has gone the right way, and she is definitely going to improve off that debut win.
“Opie (Bosson) rode her on Tuesday and was really stoked.”
Dream Of The Moon was purchased at the same sale by Ellis for A$160,000 and has also made a good early impression on her handlers.
Entrusted to the care of Hunter Durrant, Te Akau’s Riccarton stable foreman, over the spring, Dream Of The Moon had three starts at the Christchurch track, winning her last outing over 1000m last month.
“Dream Of The Moon has been based down in Christchurch and we gave her a quiet break following her impressive last start victory,” Bergerson said.
“Hunter has been really happy with how she has been going. She worked well on Tuesday and she is travelling up tomorrow (Thursday).
“She seems pretty straight forward, she has got a great brain and is handling it all really well, so we thought why not have a crack at some black-type while she is in good form, and then she will go for a break.”
While Dream Of The Moon and Captured by Love are ineligible for the Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie next month, their new stablemate Donna Chiara is, and she will be chasing both black-type and a berth in the rich feature this weekend.
Purchased by bloodstock agent Bruce Perry out of Little Avondale Stud’s 2023 New Zealand Bbloodstock Book 2 Yearling Sale draft for $90,000, Donna Chiara did her early education with Cambridge trainer Sam Logan before transferring to Te Akau’s care.
She will race in owner Lib Petagna’s colours on Saturday and Bergerson is looking forward to getting a line on the stable’s new acquisition.
“We haven’t had her for long, but she is a lovely filly to deal with,” Bergerson said.
“Sam Logan has done a super job with her and she has been really straightforward since she has been in our stable.
“She worked with Captured By Love on Tuesday on the course proper at Matamata and her work was really solid.
“She has drawn out in a sticky gate (8), but hopefully she can get a nice enough run in transit.
“It is a bit of a throw at the stumps, but it is a really good chance to get some valuable black-type early on in her career.”
Donna Chiara opened as a $12 chance with bookmakers.