The Shark bites upon return

Steve Bennett Steve Bennett
  • Te Akau Shark sends a stern warning over the Tasman
NZ horse racing return Te Akau Shark wins his first Group One


The pride of New Zealand has sent a heavy warning to Australia that he’s back better than ever and will headed across the Tasman soon.

Making his first appearance in race day atmosphere this preparation, the Rip Van Winkle gelding brought up his sixth career win and his very first Group One trophy.

The free-running chestnut gave backers a small fright as they passed the 600m mark in the BCD Group Sprint (1400m) where he was dawdling a little, and spotting the leader (The Mitigator) around six lengths.

Passing the 400m mark, he was still five lengths adrift but jockey Opie Bosson got to work on him and he reeled in a tiring Mitigator and over the final 150 metres, gave him a cold as he whizzed past to win the event by almost three lengths on the line.

Many could see this coming after his eye-catching trial gallop behind top-shelf performer Catalyst.

Bosson couldn’t hide his joy as he returned to scale and was full of praise for the five-year-old.

“I’m so happy for him as the monkey is off his back now and there are plenty more Group Ones to come for him,” Bosson said.

“I hit a little bit of a flat spot turning in but once he changed legs, I thought wow, what a turn of foot and I had a heap of horse under me.

“It’s exciting as I didn’t knock him around and the improvement that will be in him will make him a horse to watch out for.

“He is right up there with the best I’ve ridden.”

Trainer Jamie Richards remained content after the race but was still pleased with what he saw.

“I watched it live and didn’t really see the hustle and bustle,” Richards said.

“When they straightened and he changed legs and exploded I thought that was pretty good.

“He’s the best we’ve had I think and he will go to Australia now and be competitive in whatever we run him in, so we’re really looking forward to it.”

Jamie Richards

Connections have a Sydney autumn campaign in store for the gelding with three races likely to be on his agenda.

Whilst not yet confirmed, he will most likely contest the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on February 29, George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on March 21 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 11, all Group One events.

With this trio of Group Ones on the menu, Richards is keen to get on the plane.

“He was pretty ready for today and we know what he is capable of” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to getting him back to Australia and to knock off one of those good races as I really think he deserves one.”

A $230,000 purchase, the five-year-old has now won over $1 million after his $125,000 payday on Saturday.

Watch a full replay here