IN Racing
Te Akau climbing TRC ladder
New Zealand syndicator Te Akau Racing are continuing to the climb in the Thoroughbred Racing Commentary Global Rankings, aided by the deeds if standout sprinter Imperatriz.
LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | February 22, 2024
Bruno Cannatelli

New Zealand syndicator Te Akau Racing are continuing to the climb in the Thoroughbred Racing Commentary Global Rankings, aided by the deeds if standout sprinter Imperatriz.

Akin to the ATP Tennis Tour Rankings, or PGA Golf Tour Rankings, the TRC Global Rankings are the measure of achievement over a rolling three-year period, based not on prizemoney but the quality of performances by the horses in Group and Graded races, while an individual’s ranking, such as Te Akau Syndicates, depends entirely on how well their representatives have been running.

Racing Post Ratings (RPRs) are used to help calculate the merit of every performance and to ensure TRC Global Rankings maintain their principled hierarchy.

In Owner Rankings, headed by Godolphin, Te Akau is sixth and the first syndication business with those above being privately owned.

“For Te Akau to even be on the list is incredible, and it’s a great thing for the New Zealand industry and recognition of what superb judges they are and the excellent training setups that they have,” New Zealand Bloodstock Director of Business Development Michael Kneebone said.

“Their recipe for success in the syndication ownership model is unmatched in Australasia at the moment and not only through Imperatriz, but week in, week out they come up with the right results.

“I think it’s a great credit to them and I think what they’re doing now in Australia, having set up the stables at Cranbourne, is just a natural progression for such a powerhouse syndication business.”

Recording her ninth Group One victory in last Saturday’s Gr.1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington, Imperatriz moved up a notch to fourth in the TRC Horse Rankings.

The latest victory, her fifth Group One in Australia, surpassed the four Group One victories recorded across the Tasman by former stablemate and dual Horse of the Year Probabeel, while equalling the nine Group Ones by former stablemate Avantage.

Purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $360,000 at the 2020 Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Bhima Thoroughbreds, Imperatriz is owned by Te Akau Invincible Empress Racing Partnership.

Imperatriz has now won 18 of her 24 starts, including nine of 10 since the start of last year, and more than NZ$6.3 million in prizemoney.

“Australia is recognised to have some of the world’s best horses, so I don’t think it’s surprising that she’s (Imperatriz) up there, but being trained from New Zealand is the remarkable part of it and that’s the difference that makes her so unique,” Kneebone said.

Imperatriz is one of a number from the stable to excel, among a host of others in the list of 117 performances within the TRC Global Rankings rolling three-year period, including Group One winners Sword Of State, now standing at Cambridge Stud and Noverre, now standing at Waikato Stud.

“It’s not just one horse, either, and the clear indication of that is the horses they’ve on sold back into the breeding industry and how well they have achieved,” Kneebone said.

“The horses that they train, especially fillies and mares off the track, are wanted from Europe to America to Japan and to Australia. Everybody wants them and that’s a great indicator as to the quality of horses that they buy and the way they produce them on the racetrack.

“There are not a lot of stables that can produce stallions either and that’s another string to their bow, with about a dozen going back to Darci Brahma and Burgundy.

“I was actually the auctioneer when David Ellis bought Darci Brahma, and even well before that, in the livestock industry, he’s always had an eye for stock and been very meticulous and particular in what he buys.

“It all ties in together. It starts with selection, which undoubtedly they’re one of the best in the world at the selection process. Then training, and Mark Walker has headed that operation for many years, even when he was in Singapore, and Jamie Richards, who is now in Hong Kong, took over in New Zealand. It’s a great recipe that they haven’t changed much and deserve every success they get.”

Ellis was leading buyer for the 19th consecutive year at the 2024 New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales Series at Karaka and combined with his purchases at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in January, he has bought 40 yearlings for syndication, and currently about half are fully syndicated and sold.

Ellis continues as a major force in the racing industry and Te Akau Racing now has stables in Matamata, Riccarton, Cranbourne (Victoria), and Kranji Racecourse (Singapore).

Proven in his ability to select and purchase high quality young thoroughbreds, Ellis and Te Akau Racing has produced more than 50 individual Group One winners of 100 Group One races, including 15 in Australia, with 42 of the individual winners purchased by Ellis.

“After buying these quality horses they then have to syndicate them out and I don’t think there’s anyone better than Karyn (Fenton-Ellis) and David that does that,” Kneebone said.

“It’s a whole team operation, really, and involves a lot of people, and to be well recognised at a global level is an outstanding achievement.

“But it’s no surprise to me because I’ve seen the operation working for 20-odd years and realise how much they put into it.

“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into syndicating the horses and alongside their loyal client base they’ve also got new owners coming in that want to be involved.

“Communication is the other thing, and Te Akau has set the standard, really, the benchmark with their communication about horses to the owners. I can say that from a firsthand point of view because I’ve had shares in horses with Te Akau.

“It doesn’t matter whether owners have five, 10, or 50 percent, they are all made to feel that they are a genuine owner of the horse, and that’s how they’ve tailored their syndications to work.

“Also, they’re very good at placing horses correctly, where they might get the best opportunity to win, that’s the crux of it, really, and it shows in these types of global rankings.”

David Ellis Imperatriz Michael Kneebone Te Akau Racing