Shark to follow Winx Group 1 path

Te Akau Shark will follow the Group 1 trail blazed so famously by the mighty mare Winx during the Sydney autumn carnival.

Trainer Jamie Richards is aiming Te Akau Shark at the Chipping Norton Stakes-George Ryder Stakes-Queen Elizabeth Stakes treble – the same three races champion Winx made her own in 2017, ‘18 and ‘19.

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The exciting New Zealand chestnut stepped out in a Matamata barrier trial on Tuesday and ran a pleasing second behind boom three-year-old Catalyst.

Part-owner Steve Mace, the vice-chairman of the Cronulla Sharks, said the plan for Te Akau Shark includes an exhibition gallop before the gelding resumes in the Group 1 Waikato Sprint on February 8.

“Te Akau Shark will then come to Sydney for the Chipping Norton Stakes (February 29), George Ryder Stakes (March 20) and his ‘grand final’ will be the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (April 11),’’ Mace said.

“Long term, we want to aim him at the 100th Cox Plate in the spring.’’

Te Akau Shark might have gone winless during a three-start spring campaign last year but his reputation was enhanced with second placings in the Tramway Handicap and The Epsom (behind Kolding) before his third to Lys Gracieux and Castelvecchio in the Cox Plate.

Te Akau Shark will take the same path towards the Queen Elizabeth Stakes as Winx. Picture: Micheal KleinSource:News Corp Australia

Richards didn’t nominate Te Akau Shark for the All-Star Mile at Caulfield on March 14 as he is reluctant to race the gelding on the expected firm tracks in Melbourne during autumn.

In early TAB Fixed Odds betting on the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Te Akau Shark is on the second line at $8 behind crack colt Castelvecchio at $8.

Te Akau Shark is also equal favourite with Kolding at $8 for the Doncaster Mile on April 4 but is an unlikely starter. Richards prefers to give Te Akau Shark three weeks between starts which is why he is settling on the three Sydney weight-for-age races this autumn.

Meanwhile, Mace said Te Akau Shark’s unraced three-year-old full brother, Baby Shark, also produced a pleasing effort at the Matamata trials.

“If he turns out half as good at Te Akau Shark we will be happy,’’ Mace said.

RACING Victoria chairman Brian Kruger has criticised the Melbourne Racing Club’s decision to take a slot in The Everest last year.

Kruger was being interviewed on Melbourne radio yesterday when he revealed the MRC’s association with The Everest “wasn’t something I was in favour of personally.’’

“I think there were pros and cons for the Melbourne Racing Club but my concern, and I’ve expressed this directly to them as well, I feel like the fact that they bought the slot in The Everest sort of endorsed the whole NSW encroachment onto spring racing from a Victorian racing perspective,’’ Kruger said.

Racing NSW has made no apologies for expanding Sydney’s spring carnival in recent years with the introduction of races like The Everest and Golden Eagle resulting in significant increases in on-course attendance and betting turnover.

Originally published asShark to follow Winx Group 1 path

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