Bittersweet day for Te Akau Racing

Racing Desk
7 October 2017

A day that started in spectacular fashion for the Te Akau Racing team ended in disarray with the abandonment of racing at Hastings due to concerns about the safety of the track.

The well-known tangerine and blue colours captured three of the first six races at Riccarton including the Inglewood Stud Guineas Trial with Age Of Fire as they built towards a possible Group One triumph at Hastings with Livamol Classic contenders Gingernuts and Chance To Dance.

Age Of Fire Photo: Race Images South

That scenario turned to custard immediately after the completion of the Gr. 2 Sacred Fall Hawke’s Bay Guineas where runner-up Bostonian slipped badly past the winning post, with a subsequent track inspection confirming there would be no more racing on the day.

Trainer Stephen Autridge, who prepares the Te Akau team in partnership with Jamie Richards, was putting a brave face on the situation as discussions about the options available to Gingernuts in respect of a start in the Gr. 1 Caufield Cup in a fortnight began to take place.

“It’s certainly not ideal as it puts us in a very tricky situation with Gingernuts and his Caulfield Cup bid,” he said.

“At this stage we are booked on a flight to Australia on Wednesday but would be heading over after missing a vital race. We’re not sure if they are going to re-run the race but if it wasn’t tomorrow (Sunday) or Monday then it’s not an option for him.

“It would also mean he would have to travel to Australia, race on the Saturday and then back-up seven days later for the Cup. It’s not something we’ve done with him before and I just don’t know if it is a viable option.

“All we can do is sit down with David (Ellis) and the owners and work out what our options are once we know what the future of the Livamol Classic is, so hopefully we will have a plan in place in the next 24 hours.”

Despite the Hastings disappointment, Autridge was delighted with the team’s Riccarton performance that saw them ultimately capture four wins on the 10-race card.

“We were confident of our chances but you need that luck on your shoulder to get a result like that,” he said.

“We have a big opinion of Avantage who won the two-year-old race as she has been very good in everything she has done so far. She will definitely take improvement from the run but she’s on target for her main assignment which is the Listed two-year-old race during the New Zealand Cup Carnival.

“I was also pleased with Age of Fire as he was ridden a little upside down due to the size of the field in the Guineas Trial.

“I think he’s better when settled back a little more and hopefully he can show that next time up.”

Age Of Fire holds a nomination for the Gr. 1 Al Basti Equiworld 2000 Guineas at Riccarton on 11 November while Avantage will contest the Listed Barneswood Farm Welcome Stakes a week later, on the last day of the New Zealand Cup Carnival. – NZ Racing Desk

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