Te Akau Shark on target for Epsom Handicap

Te Akau Shark on target for Epsom Handicap

Trainer Jamie Richards gave NZ raider Te Akau Shark the tick of approval after the Epsom Handicap favourite completed a solid track gallop at Canterbury on Wednesday.

The likeable son of Rip Van Winkle coasted through the line after being worked by jockey James McDonald over 1200m.

“It was just a nice bit of work for him,” Richards said.

“(We are) following a similar pattern to what we did with him last spring when he was really flying.

“We are spacing his runs a little bit and brought him for a gallop and a day out.

“James (McDonald) was happy with him. He worked him over a nice 1200m and built momentum. He is certainly going the right way.

“Thank you to the ATC for allowing us to come out here and gallop. It’s a good hit-out for the horse and he should be cherry ripe for Saturday week.”

Te Akau Shark is the $5 favourite with TAB.com.au for the Epsom, which he will contest Randwick on October 5.

Richards will head to the race a month between runs after finishing runner-up in the Group II Tramway Stakes (1400m) on September 7.

The Matamata-based trainer contemplated giving Te Akau Shark a trial but opted for the track gallop.

“There was a possibility he could trial at Randwick on Friday but it was just nice to get him on a truck and give him a few extra days to come through the gallop,” Richards said.

“Then we can build him in from Saturday into Tuesday and hopefully having him peaking in the Epsom.”

Richards, who had star mare Melody Belle win the Group I Windsor Park at Hastings on Saturday, also had Probabeel narrowly miss out on the Group II Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill.

The Savabeel filly hit the line-locked together with Funstar and Libertini in the traditional Flight Stakes lead-up.

“She was terrific,” Richards said.

“It was a shame that we missed but that’s what happens in this game unfortunately. She has pulled up great.

“She has been to the beach for a little walk in the surf. We will gear up towards the end of the week again, give her a bit of work on Tuesday and head into the Flight Stakes in top order.”