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Wakefield crown captured by impressive Te Akau filly

3 minute read

Te Akau Racing was on top of the two-year-old podium at Trentham on Saturday, with their untapped filly Captured By Love running out a dominant victor in the Gr.2 Mode Technology Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m).


This year's edition of the juvenile feature drew a strong 11-horse field, with four individual race winners and several with competitive form behind the likes of current Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) Fixed Odds favourite Velocious ($3).

A daughter of prominent sire Written Tycoon, Captured By Love put away a small field with ease on debut at Tauherenikau last month, which saw the Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson-trained runner close a $3.80 second-favourite behind Red Sea ($2.50) for the $175,000 feature.

Enjoying the services of leading rider Opie Bosson, Captured By Love bounced from barrier three and descended strongly down the Trentham chute to take up the pace making role alongside Hard Attack. As the challengers began to loom at the 400m, Bosson had barely moved on the filly and she drew away comfortably to score by a dominant three length margin from the Tony Pike-prepared Poetic Champion.

Captured By Love  was nominated by Walker as the pick of the Te Akau trio for the race and so it proved as stablemate Dream Of The Moon closed nicely for third, while debutant Donna Chiara did well for seventh.

"She's a beautiful filly, Opie was pretty bullish about her and sometimes the hardest thing Opie looks at is whether they're quiet enough for him to ride," Mark Walker said.

"She's got size and strength which will count for a lot later on. She's got a good future."

Captured By Love was a A$525,000 purchase by David Ellis CNZM at the 2023 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, with the Wakefield a particularly special victory for the Te Akau Racing principal on his 70th birthday.

"Happy birthday to our team leader David Ellis, that'll be a special win for him today and he bought her at Magic Millions," Walker said.

The filly is ineligible for the upcoming Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) event, however not for the Australian equivalent (Magic Millions 2YO Classic, 1200m) in mid-January. Although the A$3 million carrot on the Coast is tempting, Walker will consider the welfare and longevity of the talented filly before taking the plunge across the Tasman so early in her career.

"I think longer term, she's got a really bright future so whether that's the right thing to do I'm not sure," he said.

"We don't like making decisions on raceday, it's quite a trip down here so we'll get her home for a few quiet days and by the middle of next week we should have an idea."

Walker commended Bosson's efforts to get down to Captured By Love's 55kg carded weight as the champion jockey typically ranges around the 56-57kg mark.

"He worked pretty hard at it during the week, full credit to him."

Bosson has paired with many of Te Akau's brightest juvenile stars over the past decade and was complimentary of their latest black-type winning charge.

"She was just always cruising underneath me. She had a bit of a look around, she spotted just about everything on the course but she's got that big long stretch about her, a big strong filly too," he said.

"She's just a natural, she'd probably be better chasing them, but we drew in close and just cruised up to the leaders. She was just too good.

"It's hard to tell just yet (how good she is) but she's doing everything the right way, she was pretty much untapped in that race so there's plenty more gears left."

Bosson has been well-travelled this spring with several trips across to Australia to partner Te Akau's star mares Imperatriz and Skew Wiff, and hinted another could be on the cards in the New Year.

"There's another horse in mind that I'm trying to get them to take (to Magic Millions), we do love a trip away so we'll see how we go," he said. 

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