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The Shark strikes twice at Hastings

3 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

The lightly-raced Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle {IRE}) has confirmed his status as a rising New Zealand star with the 4-year-old on the fast track to the highest level.

Beaten just once in five appearances, the chestnut produced a pair of quality performances during the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival and successfully bridged the gap to black type company.

Te Akau Shark won his first two starts last season and was then put aside after he finished fourth in the G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas behind stablemate Embellish (NZ) (Savabeel).

“If we can keep him sound he’s bound for the top.” – Jamie Richards.

“He took a bit of making to start with,” trainer Jamie Richards said. “He had the blinkers on as a 3-year-old, but certainly hasn’t needed those in this preparation. If we can keep him sound he’s bound for the top.”

Te Akau Shark was a dashing winner when resuming five weeks ago at Hastings where he returned to on Saturday for a commanding victory in the G2 Red Badge Spring Sprint at the expense of the highly-regarded Love Affair (NZ) (Savabeel).

“The time between runs suited him. He’s a very exciting horse and we’ll go home and have a think about things,” Richards said. “There are plenty of options for him here and across the ditch.

“There are plenty of options for him here and across the ditch.” – Jamie Richards

“You couldn’t be more impressed by him, he’s very progressive. It’s a big thank you to the team at home, I’m only a small part of it.

“He’s quite an unassuming sort of horse, a relaxed sort of character, his preparation had gone perfectly and he turned up in really good order.”

Te Akau Shark as a yearling

Te Akau Shark, who is part-owned by the Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen, was third last in the early running and when rider Michael Coleman angled him wide at the top of the straight the response was electric.

“He’s a really special horse and the world could be his oyster.” – Michael Coleman.

“I didn’t touch him behind the saddle,” Coleman said. “Once he got to the outside he was always going to win. He’s a really special horse and the world could be his oyster.”

Te Akau Shark was a NZ$230,000 Ready to Run Sale purchase out of Lyndhurst Farm’s draft by Te Akau chief David Ellis, who has remained in the ownership.

The gelding is a son of G2 Waikato Gold Cup winner Bak Da Chief (NZ) (Chief Bearheart {USA}), who is a half-sister to the dam of the G1 Easter H., winner Pondarosa Miss (NZ) (High Chaparral {USA}) and her brother, the multiple stakes winner Ecuador (NZ).

Watch: Te Akau Shark (inside) breeze up for the NZB Ready To Run sale