No plan can match the unexpected
In racing there are some things that you can plan and others you have no control over.
For the team at Te Akau Racing, that reality was never more stark than last Saturday.
Mid-afternoon at Christchurch’s Riccarton Park racecourse, a master plan came off in spectacular fashion as classy colt Embellish led home what was so close to being a Te Akau trifecta in the $500,000 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas.
Embellish won by a length and a quarter from his stablemate Age Of Fire, with Cambridge threeyear-old Ever Loyal threequarters of a length back and denying Te Akau Shark, the third runner in the tangerine and blue colours, from completing a whitewash by just a nose.
The Riccarton classic had been at the top of Embellish’s target race list since David Ellis bid $775,000 for the handsome Savabeel colt from Waikato Stud’s draft at last year’s Karaka yearling sales.
By becoming the sixth winner of the Group One feature in a sequence begun by Darci Brahma in 2003, Embellish has underlined the Te Akau operation’s aptitude at making a plan and pulling it off.
Resident co-trainer Jamie Richards led the hands-on team at Riccarton, while Stephen Autridge was in Melbourne for the Flemington debut of stable star Gingernuts in the A$2 million Emirates Stakes.
His experience, however, was a totally contrast to what had taken place hours earlier in Christchurch.
All had gone well with Gingernuts leading up to his big mission and he was vying for favouritism as he bounced around the mounting yard. Minutes later, however, while cantering the short distance to the start, he faltered inexplicably with an injury to his left foreleg.
Rider Mick Dee immediately dismounted, the saddle was removed and the club veterinarian conducted a quick examination.
The horse ambulance was called and after the leg had been heavily bandaged, Gingernuts was loaded and transported to the Werribee veterinary clinic on the southern outskirts of Melbourne.
By late Saturday the injury had been pinpointed to the pas- tern, which is the several inches long complex of bones connecting the fetlock joint to the top of the hoof.
As this page went to print, a CT scan of the injured joint was scheduled to take place, after which a decision would be made whether surgery would take place to hopefully mend the fracture.
Embellish (Opie Bosson) heads a superb New Zealand 2000 Guineas result for Te Akau Racing completed by stablemates Age Of Fire and Te Akau Shark (fourth).