Pokuru’s Gift winning at Tauherenikau on Thursday Photo: Race Images
Four-year-old gelding Pokuru’s Gift resumed with a win in the PGG Wrightson Maiden (1000m) metres at Tauherenikau on Thursday for owner and breeder Ian Farrelly.
The son of Rock ‘n’ Pop overcame a wide draw (9) to work forward and lead over the sprint trip, eventually scoring by two and a half lengths under rider Rosie Myers.
The victory maintained the winning run of Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards, who after a double on Thursday has shot to a clear earlier lead in the trainers’ premiership, with 19 wins to his name.
“He travelled well and he’s got a lot of speed for a big horse,” Richards said. “Everybody thinks he’s a big, dour, staying horse, but he’s got a heap of speed. He’s an absolute giant that had a wind op and his breathing is better now.
“Ian (Farrelly) has been a really good supporter of the stable. He’s a friend of Dave’s (Ellis) and Sir Peter’s (Vela). He has a large calf rearing business in Te Awamutu, and sat on a number of boards, including Fonterra and ASB Rural Sector.
“He’s had a couple of horses with Mark (Walker) in Singapore, and left this horse here in New Zealand. He’s been really patient and given him the time that he’s needed. Hopefully that won’t be his last win.”
Farrelly watched the race at home and spent the day working on his farm in Te Awamutu.
“It’s a good Waikato Stud family of Diademe, Sacred Star, and more recently the stallion Embellish, so there’s a lot of Group horses in the pedigree,” Farrelly said. “I’m pretty passionate and hopefully I can carry the family on.
“I’ve got a beautiful two-year-old Pins colt from the mare with Jamie (Richards) and she’s been served by Darci Brahma this season.
“I’m a small-time breeder and I’ve had a lot of wins with Te Akau, but I think he’s the first one I’ve owned outright.
“No training comes cheaply, but at Te Akau they get top care and attention and the communications is brilliant. And like David (Ellis), I’m also keen to back young people. Jamie is a rising star and it’s a thrill to have a horse with him.
“He’s a big horse, but a nice mover and always run good time. He’s bred to get further, but with having the wind op we’ll just have to see. He might stretch out to 1400 metres. Any wins are good for the mare and who knows, he might get a couple more.
“I was going to make the trip, but we’re at the peak with our calf rearing and I’ve got 22 staff on. It’s almost 10,000 calves, so I stayed home and I’ll put 12 hours into the calves.
“It’s awesome because I’ve got three boys that are all doing trades, but they help me on the farm at the weekends, so I gave them half the horse, and my oldest son, his partner is in as well. They all backed him and I want them to be interested in racing, so there’s no better way than having a winner.
“They’ve got a pretty good deal because they don’t pay any costs and get paid 100 percent of the prize money. And, I even have to supply the celebratory drinks tonight. He’s the first I’ve raced with them, so it’s pretty special.”
Te Akau principal David Ellis was delighted to see his good friend get a result.
“I’ve just been to Japan with Ian and he’s a close personal friend, so I’m thrilled he and the family had a win with Pokuru’s Gift. He’s a very good farmer and a terrific supporter of Te Akau Racing, and even more of a thrill with the stallion being Rock ‘N’ Pop, a horse I bought as a yearling that went on to be a Group One winner.”
Three-year-old filly Vino Bella, a daughter of Burgundy, also won for Richards at Tauherenikau on Thursday, and was bred by Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM.
The Pearl Series eligible filly won an $11,500 in addition to first prizemoney after landing the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1000m).