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Punt on mare continues to be rewarded

4 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

The emergence of Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle {IRE}) as a potential Group 1 Sydney autumn carnival contender has its roots in the Hollinshead family’s gamble to buck a trend.

Back in the early 1990s, they outlaid $1700 to purchase Havitbak (NZ) (Bakharoff {USA}) from the late Jim Campin, of Chequers Stud fame.

“We bought her for NZ$1700 at the Ready to Run Sale and back in those days people didn’t want mares out of European-bred mares,” Darrell Hollinshead said.

A daughter of the unraced Gold Nadjan (ITY) (Nadjar {FR}), a half-sister to the G1 Italian Derby winner Elgay (ITY) (Gay Lussac {ITY}), Havitbak won eight races and was twice a Group 3 placegetter.

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A more than respectable race record, but as a broodmare she has been a gem with six of her foals to race successful and includes the G2 Waikato Gold Cup winner Bak da Chief (NZ) (Chief Bearhart {CAN}).

She is the mother of the Jamie Richards-trained Te Akau Shark, winner of five of his six starts including a six length victory romp in Wednesday’s G2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile.

Te Akau Shark as a 2YO

Bred by Hollinshead, he was a NZ$230,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale for Te Akau boss David Ellis, who also bought his brother Baby Shark (NZ) for NZ$110,000 at the National Yearling Sale last January.

Bak da Chief has foaled a colt this year by Redwood (GB) and will be going back to Windsor Park Stud’s Rip Van Winkle.

“They take a little bit of time and seem to grow another leg at four.” - Darrell Hollinshead.

“They take a little bit of time and seem to grow another leg at four,” Hollinshead said.

“The first foal she had was Half Bak and we thought she was going to be one of the best, but she bowed a tendon.”

Rip Van Winkle

Bak da Chief is also a half-sister to the unraced Bak da Princess (NZ) (Danske {NZ}), who is the dam of the Hollinshead’s G1 Easter H., winner Pondarosa Miss (NZ) (High Chaparral {IRE}) and her brother Ecuador.

He was a NZ$360,000 Karaka yearling and is a multiple black type winner of more than $1.1 million from the stable of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.

“Bak da Princess has foaled a Reliable Man colt and there’s a Reliable Man colt going to Karaka.” - Darrell Hollinshead.

“Bak da Princess has foaled a Reliable Man colt and there’s a Reliable Man colt going to Karaka,” Hollinshead said.

Last year, Bak da Princess’ daughter Rip Em Up (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle {IRE}) was a NZ$160,000 Karaka purchase for Albert Bosma’s Go Racing.

The Stephen Marsh-trained filly has had four starts for two seconds, one behind subsequent G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas runner-up Dawn Patrol (NZP (Dawn Approach {IRE}).

Watch: Rip Em Up as a yearling

Despite Pondarosa Miss’ success – she also placed twice at the elite level – she could have achieved even more but for injury.

“She had arthritis in her hock and as soon as we stopped working her she was as good as gold.” - Darrell Hollinshead.

“We didn’t see the best of her. She had arthritis in her hock and as soon as we stopped working her she was as good as gold,” Hollinshead said.

Pondarosa Miss, who is in foal to Tavistock (NZ) (Montjeu {IRE}), was initially on the market following her retirement but after second thoughts she was retained. “She’s one of the family,” Hollinshead said.

Pondarosa Miss is in foal to Tavistock

“With the stakes money in New Zealand we decided to get more into breeding and we’ve got seven mares on the go now.

“Some people say do you regret selling horses like Te Akau Shark and Ecuador, but it’s the best thing that ever happened and they come back and keep buying the family.

“We love watching them race and if Te Akau Shark goes to Sydney I’ll be on a flight for sure.”