Kiwi Stars Impress at Trials

Steve Bennett Steve Bennett
  • Kiwi star gallopers put in top trial performances
Trainer -Clayton Chipperfield


Kiwi track stars Catalyst and Te Akau Shark returned to trackwork via a barrier trial and both horses left connections happy with their efforts.

The Clayton Chipperfield-trained Catalyst left the gates nicely and landed one out, one back with Te Akau Shark settling a further pair back.

On the turn, the gap arrived and Catalyst accepted the invitation and cruised past the others to go on and win the trial by more than two lengths, under a stranglehold from Troy Harris.

Te Akau Shark took the same gap and followed Catalyst to the line finishing second, also under a tight hold with Michael McNab aboard.

Chipperfield was very pleased with his Darci Brahma gelding who has the Australian autumn set in his sights.

“I am very happy,” Chipperfield said. “We took the hood off and he put himself right there and to finish off the way he did with his ears pricked was very encouraging.

“He put himself second or third out of the gates which was good to see because he was really slow down at Riccarton over a mile.”

Catalyst stretching out

The promising three-year-old will have one more NZ start in the Group 3 Henley Park Mr Tiz Trophy (1200m) before setting sail across the Tasman for a tilt at an Australian top-level title.

Trainer Jamie Richards was impressed with Te Akau Shark’s trial, as he beat all but Catalyst home with little effort as he also has an Australian autumn campaign on the books.

“We are really happy with him,” Richards said.

“He lobbed three back the fence and came up in behind them with no pressure.

“It wasn’t about chasing Catalyst or having a race today, it was just about building fitness and doing the right thing by the horse.

“We are pleased with how he is coming to hand.

“He will go to the BCD Sprint (Gr.1, 1400m) and then he will go to Sydney.

“He is going to have an exhibition gallop here (Matamata) in a couple of weeks which will tidy him up nicely and it will be full steam ahead.”

The Rip Van Winkle gelding has had a taste of Australian racing and in all three Group events, he finished top-three, finishing with an impressive third place behind Lys Gracieux in last year’s Cox Plate.

Te Akau Shark

Richards also said he was happy with stable star Melody Belle as she prepares for her autumn campaign.

“She is going to have a jumpout on Thursday and she will go to Ellerslie on Karaka Million night for an exhibition gallop,” he said.

“She is coming up well and she will trial at Te Aroha on the fourth of February and then go straight to Melbourne.”

Catalyst and Te Akau Shark go through their paces in Tuesday’a trial.