Riccarton classic looms for Te Akau
Yet another victory in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas looms for the potent Te Akau Racing team after Hall Of Fame lodged his bid with an impressive dress rehearsal at Riccarton on Saturday.
Beginning with King’s Chapel in 2003, Te Akau horses have won the open three-year-old classic of the season five times.
Darci Brahma scored in 2005, Tell A Tale in 2008, Rock ‘N’ Pop in 2011 and last year Xtravagant eclipsed them all with his eightlength blitz.
Xtravagant was also the first Group One winner for the Te Akau pairing of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, who made it a double just a week later with Risque in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas.
The focus this year is on the 2000 Guineas on Saturday week, when Hall Of Fame and his stablemate Heroic Valour will carry the tangerine and blue colours.
Just which of the pair stable rider Mathew Cameron will ride had yet to be declared when this article went to press, but after seeing Hall Of Fame deal to his rivals last Saturday that colt must be his preference.
His five-length Zacinto Stakes win easing up was strong evidence that he will be right in the zone when it comes to the big one over the same 1600 metres on Saturday week.
There was little wrong with Heroic Valour’s second placing over 1400 metres at Ashburton 10 days ago, but Hall Of Fame’s Riccarton record of two wins from as many starts is an ideal lead-in to the 2000 Guineas.
‘‘It’s hard to know how good the horses behind him are, but he did win well and he’s got a very good formline going into the 2000 Guineas,’’ Jamie Richards said.
‘‘It’s up to Matt which one of them he rides, but either way we’re happy to have very good prospects to collect another classic for Te Akau.’’
Hall Of Fame opened a big day for Waikato Stud stallion Savabeel, whose daughter Coldplay won in the stud colours at Ellerslie and over in Melbourne Nurse Kitchen added her name to the champion sire’s list of feature winners when she won the Gr. 2 Moonee Valley Classic.
There’s quite a story behind Nurse Kitchen, who was bred by former champion Melbourne trainer Peter Moody and is now raced by his wife Sarah.
Back in the spring of 2012 Nurse Kitchen’s dam Flying Monty had lost a foal during a difficult birth at Waikato Stud and her own life was then at risk due to sciatic nerve damage she had suffered during the protracted labour.
Realising the mare was in dire straits, Waikato Stud owner Mark Chittick contacted J Swap Contractors to see if a lifting machine might be available to assist Flying Monty.
A Highab loader was delivered to the stud and a makeshift sling was used to raise the mare off the ground.
Over the next few hours Flying Monty was able to regain some use of her hind legs and eventually she made a full recovery.
‘‘It was a great bit of teamwork with some valuable outside help which saved the day,’’ says Mark.
‘‘In fact the mare made such a good recovery that she was able to be mated with Savabeel in early November and would you believe it, Nurse Kitchen is the result.’’
Hall Of Fame confirms his New Zealand 2000 Guineas bid with an easy win for Mathew Cameron at Riccarton on Saturday.