NEWS PREVIEW

Te Akau southerners stakes-bound

While the headliners of Te Akau Racing were chasing black-type honours at Te Rapa on Saturday, four of the first six victors at Riccarton Park donned the tangerine silks.

Te Akau's southern contingent, handled by stable foreman Hunter Durrant, got off to a flying start in the opener claiming the Riccarton Park Function Centre Maiden (1600m) with Beau Brummell.

Sired by former Te Akau star Embellish, Beau Brummell  was a strong public elect closing the $2.80 TAB favourite, and stable apprentice Niranjan Parmar found a comfortable position early in behind a hotly-contested lead.

The three-year-old loomed into winning contention at the top of the straight, and once Parmar found clear air, he dashed away by an extending three-length margin to Bellutta and the fast-finishing Zlatna.

"He's taken a bit of time to mature, but Hunter and the team have got him going really well from our stables at Riccarton," Te Akau co-trainer Mark Walker said.

Walker indicated the gelding may venture further South next Saturday to contest the Listed ILT Ascot Park Hotel Southland Guineas (1600m), a potential first attempt in stakes company at his fourth start.

"Parmar gave him a good trip behind the leaders, and now he's strengthened, he may handle the week between runs. We'll wait and see," he said.

Another breaking maidens in style was Lady Of Court, the Savabeel filly also rewarding punters in her southern debut when claiming the Alastair Gray Memorial Maiden (1400m) as the $3.70 favourite.

Settling midfield from barrier five under Parmar, Lady Of Court travelled strongly into the bend before descending down the centre of the long Riccarton straight, eventually chasing down a brave pacemaker in Rubicon Reigns to score by a length.

"She's been knocking on the door and it was a really good winning run," Walker said.

"She's slowly learning to relax better in her races, and we'll give her the opportunity of competing in a stakes race."

A half-sister to Te Akau sprinting stalwart Challa, Lady Of Court will now chase black-type in three weeks' time at Wingatui in the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1400m).

An inexperienced four-horse juvenile field made the Entain – NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1000m) an easy watch for Te Akau, with runaway winner Quintefeuille bringing up a winning treble in the fourth on the ten-race card.

The son of Xtravagant had finished runner-up in his sole race-day appearance to stablemate Damask Rose, who went on to place second in the $1 million Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m) at her next start. Looking the unbeatable favourite as indicated by his $1.10 TAB quote, the gelding outclassed his three rivals by a significant margin to score by six lengths, Parmar having eased him down in the final 100m.

"It was a really good win, and while not sure about the strength of opposition, he certainly did it pretty easily," Walker said.

"It's only his second start, so he'll only improve for the experience and age. We'll see how he pulls up before planning his next race."

Completing their successful winning quartet was progressive filly Superbly Written, the three-year-old producing a comprehensive performance in the GM Accounting & Consulting Rating 65 (1200m).

Superbly Written showed early promise in narrowly defeating subsequent Group Three winner Still Bangon at her second start, and regained that winning form down the chute, with Parmar keeping the filly wide from the 13 draw, before swamping the leaders to score by 1 and ¾ lengths.

"She's putting together a good record, starting to mature, and it was a big effort to win the way she did today," Walker said.

Alongside stablemate Lady Of Court, Superbly Written will contest the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1400m) on March 2 at her next appearance.

Embellish gelding Plenty O'Style and consistent mare Millefiori also finished runner-up in their respective races, capping a stellar day in the south for Walker, who trains in partnership with Sam Bergerson.

"It's great to have the stables at Riccarton, where Hunter Durrant and the staff are doing such a good job, and the trip away and being stabled down south is quite often the making of horses," Walker said.

The victories also saw Parmar storm into the lead of the domestic apprentice's premiership with 35 winners for the season, surpassing Central Districts-based Lily Sutherland who currently sits on 33.


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