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Te Akau Shark nearing return

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

One of New Zealand’s most talked about gallopers Te Akau Shark is building towards autumn assignments and holds a nomination for the A$5 million All Star Mile (1600m) at Flemington on March 16, but is more likely to target the Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 4. The Jamie Richards-trained four-year-old has been beaten only once in his six-start career and demolished his rivals when winning the Gr.2 Coupland's Bakeries Mile (1600m) last November.

"He’s going to trial in two or three weeks’ time in early February and then we are going to make some decisions on what he is doing," Te Akau principal David Ellis said. "We are almost certain to have the Doncaster as his main aim this year. We like to win a good handicap race with our horses before we go weight-for-age. Then he might back up in the Queen Elizabeth (Gr.1, 2000m) later on in the carnival."

"We haven’t made any decisions and we are having a meeting on the 12th of February and after that we would have seen how he has come through the trial and we will firm up on what happens.

"I would say he would have a trial and two races before the Doncaster."

Te Akau Shark is part-owned by NRL legend Paul Gallen.

'Switched on' Lady Cuvee makes her mark

Chris Waller always knew Lady Cuvee's pedigree would count for something despite the filly making an inauspicious start to her racing career.

But for all of his mastery as a trainer, not even Waller was sure if the three-year-old was ready to do what she did at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.

Lady Cuvee came from the second half of the field to beat stable companion Savigne by a length in a performance that Waller expects to hold her in good stead as the distances get longer.

"She's a well-bred filly by Savabeel so you would expect her to start switching on about now," he said.

"That was about the only real positive thing we could take into today but give them their opportunity and they'll run well."

"Being a filly by Savabeel at this time of the year you'd like to think she'd get towards some black-type races," Waller said.

NZ-bred hits milestone

A Wednesday night win at Happy Valley put Clement Legend in an elite group of horses who can lay claim to winning four consecutive races this season.

Only Beauty Generation, who contests Sunday’s Gr.1 Steward’s Cup (1600m), and Elusive State, who is on a path to Dubai, have achieved the same feat. The Danny Shum-trained Clement Legend was declared the winner in a tight three-way finish and despite the win will now be targeted at daytime racing.

"He was a little bit cautious under the lights," Shum told the South China Morning Post.

"Hopefully next time I can run him on January 27 in a Class Four over 2000m. I just need to see how he pulls up over the next few days and we’ll decide. I think he can win in Class Four again. He shouldn’t go up too many points for that."

The son of Ocean Park was sold out of Blandford Lodge’s 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling draft and the Matamata farm will offer a half-sister by Savabeel at Karaka later this month as lot 427.

Oceanex to relish distance rise

Apprentice Lachie King will link with Mick Price's in-form filly Oceanex at Flemington on Saturday. The daughter of Ocean Park has started her career with two wins and two placings and is the favourite for Saturday's Flemington Event Staff Handicap (2000m) following an impressive last-start victory over a mile at The Valley.

"I've been getting a lot of support from Mick Price and am very fortunate to be able to take the steer on a filly going places," King said.

"It looks a winnable race for her, obviously she's quite progressive and every time she's going out I think she's getting better and better and I think Saturday we'll see the best of her."

The three year-old impressed when hitting the line strongly on December 29 and King thinks the step out in trip to 10 furlongs will suit her perfectly.

A tilt at Saturday week’s Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie was being considered for Oceanex, but connections have opted to keep her closer to home, with the Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) the long-range target. Waikato Stud stallion Ocean Park has been represented by a host of winners in recent months, with the Mick Price-trained son of Ocean Park Senrima Tide also successful at Sandown on Wednesday.

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