Te Akau the big award winners
The tangerine of Te Akau was the dominant hue when Matamata celebrated its high achievers of the 2015-16 season at the annual awards and appreciation function last week.
After a landmark 12 months when the new partnership of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards added a training premiership to the five achieved by their predecessor Mark Walker, there was perhaps no surprise that Te Akau principal David Ellis and those around him made multiple visits to the podium to collect their raft of trophies.
Beginning with the Champion Jumper title awarded to Brer, Te Akau horses were responsible for five categories, Champion ThreeYear- Old and Sprinter-Miler to Xtravagant, Champion Two-YearOld Heroic Valour and Owner of the Year to Xtravagant’s ownership group, the Te Akau 2014 Breeding Syndicate.
On top of those horse awards, two jockeys connected to Te Akau also took home trophies, Dan Miller the Jumps Jockey of the Year and in perhaps the most popular choice of the night, Cameron Lammas was Champion Jockey.
Cameron had enjoyed the second-best season of his 15-year career with 67 wins and eighth place on the premiership. The true merit in that performance, however, was that two years ago his career was in the balance during the drawn-out recovery from serious leg fractures suffered in a starting stall accident.
The ‘‘comeback kid’’ never wavered, however, and now with a regular diet of travelling daily from Rotorua to Matamata to ride work for Te Akau as well as a busy raceday and trials schedule, Cameron was indeed a fitting win- ner of the jockeys’ trophy.
The Matamata awards weren’t only about Te Akau and their associates.
Shaun McKay, who won the national apprentice premiership with 70 wins, won the Champion Apprentice Jockey award, the Lance Noble-trained Auckland Cup runner- up Rose Of Virginia took the Champion Stayer award, Rich Hill Stud, the breeders of Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance and Xtravagant, took home the Champion Breeder trophy and the keenly contested Trackwork Rider/Stablehand award went to one of the hardest and most reliable workers in the local industry, Richardson Racing’s stable manager Dianne Wright.
The supreme Matamata Horse of the Year trophy belonged to Te Akau colt Xtravagant., who a week earlier had collected the Three-Year- Old of the Year title at the 2016 New Zealand Thoroughbred Awards. ’’The past season has been a hugely rewarding time for Te Akau Racing,’’ said Te Akau principal David Ellis. T.W. BrownChampion Jumper: Brer; J.C. Tucker Champion ThreeYear- Old: Xtravagant; Lindsay Family Champion Apprentice Jockey: Shaun McKay; D.W. Moss Champion Stayer: Rose Of Virginia; R.C. Blake Champion Two-Year- Old: Heroic Valour; W.L. Tisch Champion Jumps Jockey: Dan Miller; D.G.M Benjamin Champion Breeder: Rich Hill Stud; J.W. McAnnalley Champion Sprinter-Miler: Xtravagant; B.R. Tims Champion Jockey: Cameron Lammas; C.C.E. Thompson Champion Owner: Te Akau 2014 Breeding Syndicate (Xtravagant); D.J. O’Sullivan Champion Trainer: Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards; J.B. Christophers Track Rider/Stablehand: Dianne Wright; Matamata Horse of the Year: Xtravagant.
Flanked by Te Akau principal David Ellis and his wife Karyn, the hard-working Te Akau team celebrate their big night at the Matamata Racing Awards.