Te Akau chasing down memorable jumps win

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  • June 30, 2023
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Te Akau has long been a dominant force in New Zealand flat racing with a vast list of achievements and at Hastings on Saturday they will bid to break new ground.

The Matamata stable has its biggest ever team of jumpers in work this winter and in-form The Mighty Spar will chase a likely first prestige victory over fences for the operation when he runs in the Te Whangai Romneys Hawke’s Bay Hurdles (3100m).

Te Akau chief David Ellis couldn’t remember them landing one in the past and the Mark Walker-trained son of Savabeel may be new to the role, but he has made a good impression with a brace of runner-up finishes and a last-start victory at Te Rapa.

The Mighty Spar has also been a more than capable performer on the flat with four wins, the latest of them in the South Waikato Cup (2000m) in March and this preparation also finished fourth in the Listed Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m).

“He’s come through his last run really well and he’s thriving, just loving his role over hurdles,” said Assistant Trainer Sam Bergerson, who will join Walker in partnership at the start of the new season.

“He’s a promising jumper going forward and I was talking to Kevin Myers at the races and he said he would make a really good hurdler in Australia because there’s a bit more distance between the jumps.

“Mark’s main long-term goal is to get him to Warrnambool next year.”

The stable has around 10 jumpers in work with Prismatic, also by Savabeel, to make his debut in Saturday’s Best Forsyth Electrical Maiden Hurdle (2500m).

“Mark is a big supporter of the jumps industry, he loves it and if The Mighty Spar was to win on Saturday it would probably be one of the highlights of the season for him,” Bergerson said.

“Prismatic jumps really well, but it’s whether he’s got enough ringcraft to get away with it.

“He hasn’t had a hurdle trial, but from what he has showed us at home he should be really competitive.”

Te Akau also has a leading chance in the main flat event with Millefiori in the transferred Listed Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic (1400m).

The daughter of Iffraaj is in good touch with two victories from her last four appearances, most recently successful in an open handicap earlier this month.

“She has come through her win at Awapuni well. It would have been nice if it had been at Tauranga as she’s got a good record there with three wins,” Bergerson said.

“The extra week hasn’t done her any harm though and she is in really good form, her trackwork has been super and she’s a really confident horse at the moment.

“She’s got a nice gate, but it does depend a bit on how heavy the track is at that stage of the day.”

Barnmate Aotea Lad will step up in distance when he tackles the Betta Asbestos Consultancy Handicap (2100m) and will gain weight relief with apprentice Jess Allen’s 4kg claim.

“It’s his first run over ground and it’s a bit of a throw at the stumps, but Jess gets on with him really well,” Bergerson said.

“The claim will help and it doesn’t look an overly strong field.”

The stable’s representation is completed by Hero Worship and Marlborough Bay in the King Of Comedy @ Novara Park Handicap (1400m).

“Hero Worship is in good form and the claim will help him as well while Marlborough Bay might be a bit of a watch and see with the track,” Bergerson said.

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