The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
For the first time in five years the Chipping Norton Stakes results were dominated by another horse other than equine superstar Winx with gun Kiwi Te Akau Shark taking out the first edition of the Royal Randwick feature in the post-Winx era.
In a day he is unlikely to forget, Matamata-based horseman Jamie Richards took out the Group 1 double on the card with the filly Probabeel dominating in the Surround Stakes and then Te Akau Shark saluting for the punters in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).
Both horses were ridden to victory by Opie Bosson who was thrilled to get the job done aboard Rip Van Winkle gelding Te Akau Shark who was back down under for the first time since his third in last October’s Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
“It’s amazing. It’s hard enough to get a ride here let alone win two Group 1s,” Bosson said post-race.
“He’s got stronger this time in. He’s just so laid back about things too. He doesn’t know how good he is. He is untapped still.”
Te Akau Shark came off a lead-up win back home at elite level at Te Rapa earlier in the month and franked that form taking out his first Group 1 down under.
He came close at the Randwick track in the spring when narrowly beaten home in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) by Kolding.
In the Chipping Norton Stakes, Te Akau Shark from well back swamped them to win, the big chestnut from across the Tasman rounding up his rivals to emerge as the new weight-for-age star of the autumn.
“He’s something special isn’t he. They didn’t go quick early, Blake slowed them, and they only went steady but gee he was good late. He’s a very, very exciting horse,” Richards said.
“When he gets on his outside leg and gets a bit of clear air, he can really charge late.
“He has a bit of arrogance about him, he’s grumpy, he’s just one of those horses that knows he’s pretty good.
“He’s not a fantastic eater, he’s not a big strong horse, he’s pretty lean and mean but he has a big ticker.”
John Thompson’s first-up Apollo Stakes runner-up Dreamforce jumped well in the Chipping Norton and went into the lead on the fence with the veteran Happy Clapper rolling forward into a clear second.
Chris Waller’s Group 1 winning mare Verry Elleegant meanwhile got a lovely run in transit third on the outside of her stablemate Life Less Ordinary, Waller having prepared eight of the previous nine Chipping Norton Stakes winners.
Further back in the field Bosson had Te Akau Shark second last, the favourite racing a bit keen as the front runners upped the temp at the 600m.
Te Akau Shark started his run at the top of the straight, circling wide out and coming in for the kill.
He got up over the top of the pacemakers in the final 50m to post a half-length win over Verry Elleegant ($21), with Matthew Smith’s dual Group 1 winner Fierce Impact ($7) sticking his nose down right on the line to round out the trifecta a further one and a half lengths back for third.
“When they quickened up, they just left him a bit flat-footed but once he balances up, he just keeps grinding through those gears.
“It’s great, it gives you a buzz and it’s great for the racing too. There’s plenty more to come,” Bosson said.
The Group 1 $1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Golden Slipper Day, March 21, looks a nice next-up target for this year’s Chipping Norton Stakes winner.
“The George Ryder in three weeks is nice timing for him as long as he does well then the Queen Elizabeth,” Richards confirmed.
“It’s just so exciting for the racing community to have a couple of horses like this bloke and Alligator Blood, two geldings that are going to race on and promote our sport.”
Winx completed the Chipping Norton – George Ryder Stakes double four years on the trot form 2016-19, a feat Te Akau Shark will be looking to repeat this season.
The Group 1 $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) takes place back at Randwick on April 11 on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ and all-in markets have Te Akau Shark at $6.50.
2020 Chipping Norton Stakes Results
|1||3||TE AKAU SHARK (NZ)||Jamie Richards||Opie Bosson||–||12||59kg||$2.80F|
|2||13||VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||0.5L||8||57kg||$21|
|3||5||FIERCE IMPACT (JPN)||Matthew Smith||Brenton Avdulla||1.8L||5||59kg||$7|
|4||1||AVILIUS (GB)||James Cummings||Hugh Bowman||2L||7||59kg||$6|
|5||2||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Tommy Berry||2.1L||9||59kg||$16|
|6||9||LIFE LESS ORDINARY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||2.3L||1||59kg||$101|
|7||7||HOMESMAN (USA)||Anthony Freedman||Ben Melham||2.5L||2||59kg||$9.50|
|8||4||DREAMFORCE||John Thompson||Blake Shinn||4L||3||59kg||$5|
|9||10||ANGEL OF TRUTH||Gwenda Markwell||Sam Clipperton||5.3L||10||59kg||$201|
|10||12||DJUKON (GB)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||5.6L||4||58.5kg||$101|
|11||11||CARIF||Peter & Paul Snowden||Tim Clark||5.9L||11||59kg||$201|
|12||6||DANCETERIA (FR)||Kris Lees||Kerrin McEvoy||6L||13||59kg||$21|
|13||8||COME PLAY WITH ME||Chris Waller||Joshua Parr||6.7L||6||59kg||$201|
|–||14||DANZDANZDANCE||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||–||0||–||–|
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