Smart youngsters trail of riches

4 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Unbeaten 2-year-olds Aotea Lad (NZ) (Savabeel) and Czarson (Stratum) will be chasing pots of 2-year-old gold on their respective sides of the Tasman following impressive successes on Saturday.

The former fuelled Te Akau’s hopes of completing a hat-trick of Karaka Million victories with his debut victory at Trentham while Czarson proved far too slick for his rivals at Rosehill to book his spot in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic.

The David Ellis-headed Te Akau operation has won the last two editions of the country’s richest race for 2-year-olds with Avantage (Fastnet Rock) and Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) successful in the Ellerslie feature.

Wakefield no challenge

And now Aotea Lad has taken a first winning step toward January’s feature with a commanding performance to triumph in the G2 Anuka Smoker Wakefield Challenge S. on debut.

While the juvenile was of a relaxed demeanour on Saturday, he hasn’t always been the easiest to manage and that led to the unkindest cut of all to settle him down and realise his racing potential.

“Early in the spring he was very colty so he was gelded and that was the making of him as a racehorse,” said Paul Richards, a senior member of the Te Akau team and father of head trainer Jamie.

Aotea Lad wasn’t the quickest into stride and settled off the pace, but when the field fanned out in the straight he quickly pounced and won with ease from Killin (Snitzel).

“It was always the plan to ride him back and get a drag into it across the junction and get over them late.” – Paul Richards.

“It was always the plan to ride him back and get a drag into it across the junction and get over them late,” Richards said.

“Obviously, he’s going to improve a lot and it’s all in front of him. He’ll probably go to the Eclipse S. next and then into the Karaka Million.”

Aotea Lad as a yearling

Rider Opie Bosson said Aotea Lad would greatly benefit from Saturday’s experience and could only get better.

“When he got to the front he was looking around at the big screen, but there was plenty left in the tank.

“He showed a good turn of foot when I put the pressure on him.” - Opie Bosson.

“He showed a good turn of foot when I put the pressure on him. He still doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but he’s a pretty special horse.”

Aotea Lad was purchased by Ellis out of Phoenix Park’s draft at Karaka for NZ$200,000 and he knew exactly what he was getting as he, with wife Karyn Fenton-Ellis, was part of the syndicate that bred the horse.

The dam Corsage (NZ) (Volksraad {GB}) was also gifted. She was a stakes winner and ran third in the G1 Diamond S. as a 2-year-old.

The $340,000 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale purchase Killin (Snitzel) did well to finish runner-up in his first outing as trainer Stephen Marsh was concerned about the rain-affected going while another debutant Aretha (NZ) (Charm Spirit {IRE}) was third.

“She’ll probably have a little break now,” co-trainer Andrew Forsman said. “She’s not a Karaka Million horse and that’s probably a good thing and we can look toward black type for her in the autumn.”

Dominant off the front

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Czarson, a debut winner at Gosford, made all the running and when Tim Clark pushed the button 350 metres they scooted clear to win by a comfortable two lengths from Kiamichi (Sidestep).

Stable representative Neil Paine said Czarson is Magic Millions-bound, although Listed Maribyrnong Trial S. winner Unite And Conquer (Hinchinbrook) is seen as the stable’s leading hope.

“He will head to the Magic Millions but Unite And Conquer is a mature colt and deserves to be favourite.

“It was a very professional win and he (Czarson) has come a long in the two weeks since Gosford,” Paine said. “It has really brought him on.

“It was a typical Gai and Adrian win - go to the lead, follow the rail and hit the line strongly.”