Waikato breeder Darrell Hollinshead is the first to admit that his family have been spoilt with good horses over the years, but even he now agrees that the family’s latest star Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) is pretty special.
“Over the years we have had some good horses starting with
Dad having Judena, then Bak da Chief, and more recently Pondarosa Miss and
Ecuador,” Hollinshead said. “But I think this one is extra good.”
Te Akau Shark was having his 12th start when he won
Saturday’s Gr.1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) and recorded his seventh win,
his second at Group One level following his impressive victory in the Gr.1 BCD
Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa last month.
In the spring he placed in the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m), Gr.1
Epsom Handicap (1600m), and Gr.2 Tramway Stakes (1400m).
Last season he only had three starts and won them all
including the Gr.3 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m) and the Gr.2 Couplands
Bakeries Mile (1600m).
Te Akau Shark is the fourth foal of the Chief Bearheart mare Bak da Chief (NZ), herself the winner of five races including the Gr.3 Waikato Cup. She in turn is out of Havitbak (NZ) (Bakharoff), a mare purchased by Darrell’s father in the 90’s.
“Havitbak was a mare we bought through a Dalgety’s sale,”
Hollinshead said. “She was bred by Jim Campin, who then sold the mother to
Korea and that side of the family disappeared.”
“Her fourth dam is the Rockefella mare Riches and she in
turn is the sixth dam of Miracles of Life, so that branch has been successful
Bak da Chief is the dam of eight foals, and three of those are winners including Urulu (NZ) (High Chaparral) and Roldana (Mastercraftsman).
She was once again covered by Rip Van Winkle in 2014 and produced Melarita (NZ) who had two seconds at three before sustaining a fracture in the 2019 running of the Gr.2 Royal Stakes. According to Hollinshead she is fully recovered and back in work at the family stables.
The next mating produced Baby Shark (NZ) who has had two starts from the Te Akau stables. She has a yearling by Redwood who will be sold at the Sydney yearling sales this Easter and a colt foal at foot by Rip Van Winkle. She is back in foal to him at the moment.
Bak Da Chief is a half-sister to unraced mare Bak da Princess (NZ) (Danske). Her first mating was with Thorn Park and produced four time winner Prickly Princess (NZ). This coincided with a period when the Hollinsheads were supporting only Windsor Park stallions, and by mating Bak da Princess to High Chaparral they discovered this family crossed beautifully with Sadler’s Wells line stallions.
Bak da Princess produced Group One winner Pondarosa Miss (NZ) and multiple stakes winner Ecuador, both by High Chaparral. Between them they won 16 races.
Te Akau Shark winning the Gr.1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).
“Basically, my philosophy is to cross two good athletes and
you should get a good athlete,” Hollinshead said.
“We are so fortunate now with shuttle stallions that we can
do this. We have access to all those fabulous Coolmore horses who have proven
themselves as elite athletes and we get to send our mares to them. My
association with Windsor Park is testament to that philosophy.”
With High Chaparral relocating to Australia the next obvious
choice for a Sadler’s Wells line stallion was Rip Van Winkle. More recently
Hollinshead has used this line with Tavistock and Tarzino as well.
“Dad (Peter) started the interest in the horses, much to
Granddad’s horror,” Hollinshead said. “He soon came round and he and my Nana
followed Dad all over the country with the team of race horses.
“It’s thanks to his legacy that we had the big dairy farm,
which we reduced to the 40 acre block where we run the mares, and train half a
dozen or so horses.
“We are now concentrating on breeding rather than racing and
of the half dozen or so mares that we have between us, all are from the one
family with the exception of one.
“It’s affordable because we can do it all ourselves and we
have a family that is a better than the middle market. In the end Granddad set
it up for Dad and me to enjoy.
“As a breeder I think you get as much thrill out of them winning as you do when you own them.
“Well we do anyway, and we plan to go and see ‘The Shark’ race in the Queen Elizabeth II as it coincides with sale time.”