Te Akau firepower out in force at Te Rapa trials

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Te Akau Shark

It may be a far cry from the sunshine and 35-degree heat he is currently on a well-deserved Hawaiian holiday, but you can be sure that 's will have an eye on Monday's trials where the first of the spring horses go through their paces. Racing will be represented by more than thirty members of their potential new season line-up at Te Rapa, from unraced two-year-olds through to star performers such as and .

Richards is relaxed about the prospects for his team at the trials meeting, with most there to enjoy what he considers will be a nice day out. “There won't be any pressure on any of the runners on the day, we just want to see them have a day out as part of the early proceedings in their current preparations,” Richards said. “They can have a run around and it will bring them on for the next round of trials at Te Rapa in a fortnight. “It is a good opportunity for them to have a wee trip away, stretch their legs and get ready for what comes next.”

Headline acts Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark will contest an open 900m heat with Richards looking forward to having them enjoy a quiet hit-out. “Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark are coming along nicely and the trial will do them the world of good,” he said. “All going well, they will be back again in a fortnight and then we can reassess where each of them is at from there. “It is likely they will clash first-up in the (Group 2, 1200m) at Te Rapa on August 17.

“The Foxbridge is an ideal stepping stone for where we want to go with them both. “They are both class sprinters so you would expect them to perform well first-up before we get serious with their main targets. “Melody Belle will be aimed at the Hawke's Bay triple crown while Te Akau Shark has Sydney aspirations. We are in no hurry to get him to Sydney so we will just take it one step at a time.”

Richards also predicts big things for his trio of rising four-year-old mares in , and Luminous. “We are going to take it slowly with the three of them before we ask them to step up,” he said. “Shezathinka and Luminous are both stakes placed maidens who won't take long to get through the grades. “Savy Yong Blonk ran creditably over ground in her last few starts but we think she could be best as a sprinter-miler so that's where we will be focussing with her.”

Shezathinka and Luminous will contest maiden 900m trial heats while Savy Yong Blonk will join Te Akau Shark in his open 900m heat.

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