Hastings racegoers got to witness something special on Saturday when exciting four-year-old Te Akau Shark scorched to victory in the Gr.3 Red Badge Sprint (1400m) at Hastings.
Touted as a star of the future following an impressive first-up win on the first day of the Hawkes Bay carnival, the Rip Van Winkle gelding displayed electrifying acceleration as he blasted past his rivals in the home straight after making the final corner near the rear of the twelve-horse field.
Rider Michael Coleman was no more than a passenger as the powerful chestnut put three lengths on highly regarded mare Love Affair, who held second comfortably from former Singapore galloper Magnum who battled on gamely for third.
“I never had to touch him behind the saddle,” Coleman said after the race.
“I gave him every chance when I came to the outside with the light weight and once I got there he was always going to win.
“He’s pretty electric and a pretty special horse, the world could be his oyster.”
Trainer Jamie Richards was sporting a wide grin as he spoke about the performance.
“He’s going well and I couldn’t be more impressed,” he said.
“I was a bit worried when Mick was checking him off heels at the 700m but it didn’t matter as he’s a very progressive horse.
“His work has been very good and the five weeks between runs suited him.
“We’ll go home and have a think now but there are plenty of options for him both here and across the ditch.”
Raced by an enthusiastic group of owners, many who were on-course wearing their special “shark” hats, Te Akau Shark has now won four of his five races and over $100,000 in prizemoney after being secured by Te Akau boss David Ellis for $230,000 from the Lyndhurst Farm draft at the 2016 Ready To Run Sale at Karaka.