Well-related three-year-old Te Akau Shark (Rip Van Winkle) may have drawn attention to his short-term prospects with a stylish debut at Te Rapa today, but it’s next year that those closest to the colt are most excited about.
The son of Rip Van Winkle crushed any pre-race doubts over the distance when he came from the tail of the field to win the 1100-metre Skycity Hamilton Waikato Cup 16th December 17 Maiden.
“He’s a pretty promising sort of horse who trialled well and had improved at home, but we were a little unsure what to expect over 1100 metres,” said Jamie Richards, who trains Te Akau Shark with Stephen Autridge.
“He’s a nice staying type and we think the best of him will be seen after Christmas. He wouldn’t want rock-hard ground, so it will be interesting how far he goes this preparation.”
Tardily away and at the tail of the field 800 metres from home, Te Akau Shark improved across the top and finished resolutely under Opie Bosson to down the Stephen Marsh-trained stablemates Campari and Sumstreetsumwhere.
“His last 100 metres was really strong,” Bosson said. “The blinkers going on really sharpened him up and there are better things to come.”
Te Akau Shark was bought out of Lyndhurst Farm’s 2016 Ready to Run Sale draft by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $230,000.
From the family of the Group One winner Pondarosa Miss, his syndicate of owners includes the Australian rugby league star Paul Gallen, captain of the Cronulla Sharks.