Star Witness 2YO Tipped by Te Akau

Media Release - Friday September 1

Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson will reveal their newest juvenile prospect at Wanganui on Saturday, with impressive trial winner Bellatrix Star having her race-day debut.

A daughter of Star Witness, Bellatrix Star was an undeniable stand-out among the two-year-old contingent at the Te Rapa trials last month, and will contest the first juvenile event of the season in the Whanganui Chronicle MDN 2YO 800.

Bellatrix Star was an $80,000 Karaka Book 1 purchase f rom the Phoenix Park draft.

“We’re going into it with a bit of confidence, she hasn’t really put a foot wrong since she’s come into the stable,” co-trainer Sam Bergerson said.

“She’s had a couple of jump-outs here and has been really impressive, and her trial at Te Rapa was very good.

“We were really pleased with her work on Tuesday, obviously Shaun Phelan’s two-year-old (Take The Crown) looks pretty sharp as well and there’s always unnamed form there, but we’re really happy with her.”

Te Akau have made a strong start with their Southern-based team over the past fortnight collecting five wins on the Riccarton Synthetic, and will revert to the turf on Saturday with seven representatives.

Promising fillies Viva Vienna and Rhetorical will resume in a competitive NZ Cup Meetings Tickets On Sale Now Three-Year-Old (1000m) event, and although the former currently sits a $4.50 second favourite on the TAB tote, Bergerson couldn’t split the pair.


“Viva Vienna is a lot shorter in the market and she trialled really well at Avondale, but the track would be the only worry for her,” he said.

“She trialled well on a heavy track but hasn’t really performed on race-day in those conditions, I was surprised to see it was heavy down at Riccarton but hopefully that continues to improve.

“She’s got a nice gate, should get a lovely run.”

“Rhetorical trialled really well at Te Rapa in a pretty hot heat and had a quiet jump-out before she headed down south.”

Bergerson indicated strong performances from Viva Vienna and Rhetorical would see them target the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) on September 16, while both also hold early nominations for the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm 51st New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) during New Zealand Cup Week in November.

Among the Matamata partnership’s favoured runners are last-start victors Cote de Beaune and Its Business Time, who both contest the Cantabrian Magazine (1200m).

Burgundy gelding Cote de Beaune has collected two victories on the bounce on the Riccarton all-weather track, while stablemate Its Business Time will appear fresh-up following three wins last preparation in the North.

“Cote de Beaune had a disappointing season last season but he seems to have got his mojo back stringing a few nice wins together on the synthetic,” Bergerson said.

“We can’t really fault him after his last win and he’s in good form, he’s got a bit of a sticky gate but it’s down the chute so it shouldn’t matter too much.

“He’s performed well at Riccarton down the chute as well so we’ve got a bit of confidence that he’ll go well.”

“Its Business Time trialled really well at Te Rapa, we thought it may be a touch short of her best but she showed she was sharp enough over 900m in that trial so she could run a really cheeky race fresh.”

“She’s really progressive so she could find herself in a nice race over Cup week.”

Te Akau stable jockey Opie Bosson will partner with Cote de Beaune, and also is set to guide seasoned galloper Challa in the Prydes Easifeed Open Sprint (1000m).

“ He’s ventured south a few times, he seems really happy there and the team is happy with him,” Bergerson said.

“1000m is probably ideal, he’s a seven-year-old now but he still showing plenty of life here at home and in the South Island, it would just be the 59kgs as he’s a pretty small horse would be the only worry but other than that really happy with him.”

The Te Akau stable will also be represented in other races by a resuming Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) runner-up in Mehzebeen in the Racecourse Hotel and Motor Lodge Rating 65 (1400m), and Insatiable in the Christchurch Casino SI Racing Awards 15 September Rating 65 (1000m).

Of their competitive team of domestic runners on Saturday, Bergerson couldn’t go past Bellatrix Star as the stable’s leading chance at Wanganui.

“The 2YO will be pretty hard to beat,” he said. – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk



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