Tokyo Tycoon Surges to Third on Karaka Million Order of Entry

29 December 2022

Tokyo Tycoon
Flashy gelding Tokyo Tycoon (NZ) after his win on Monday. Photo: Trish Dunell.

With a bold performance at Pukekohe on Boxing Day, unbeaten gelding Tokyo Tycoon (NZ) (Satono Aladdin) may have established himself as one of the top seeds for powerhouse stable Te Akau Racing in the $1m DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at the same venue on January 21.

All of the last six Karaka Million 2YO winners have been bought by Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis and trained by the stable’s multiple premiership winner Jamie Richards – Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands), Avantage (Fastnet Rock), Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel), Cool Aza Beel (NZ) (Savabeel), On The Bubbles (Brazen Beau) and Dynastic (NZ) (Almanzor).

With Mark Walker now back at the helm of the all-conquering operation, Te Akau boasts five of the top seven horses on the order of entry for the 2023 Karaka Million as we approach the end of December.

The highest-ranked of those is now Tokyo Tycoon, who was outside the top 10 before Boxing Day but leapfrogged his way to number three with an impressive performance in the $70,000 Pukekohe Traders 2YO (1100m).

Ridden by Opie Bosson, Tokyo Tycoon settled in fifth before stretching out stylishly down the straight for an emphatic victory over stablemate Viva Vienna (NZ) (All Too Hard).

Tokyo Tycoon has now won both of his two starts and $48,650 in stakes, which puts him behind only the stakes-winning fillies Impendabelle (Impending) with $95,200 and Ethereal Star (Snitzel) with $57,300. Impendabelle lost her undefeated career record with a third placing behind Tokyo Tycoon on Boxing Day, dropping back from a wide gate and making up good late ground.

Just behind Tokyo Tycoon on the order of entry are four of his Te Akau stablemates – Trobriand (Kermadec) with $36,590, Rhetorical (NZ) (Snitzel) with $34,200, Believe In Magic (NZ) (Not A Single Doubt) with $34,040 and Viva Vienna with $31,550.

“Tokyo Tycoon is a really nice, no-fuss sort of horse and he did it fairly comfortably (at Pukekohe on Boxing Day),” Walker said.

“The good draw helped – Opie could find a position without too much effort, and then he put them away nicely when he asked him to go. It looks like 1200 metres will suit him, as he was strong in the closing stages.

“He is definitely one of our main chances for the Karaka Million. Opie will ride Trobriand on Sunday in the Eclipse Stakes (Group Two, 1200m), and he has won two from two so far. If he was to win on Sunday, then Opie will have quite a decision to make as to who he rides in the Karaka Million. But we will leave it up to him – he has pulled the right rein plenty of times in the past.”

Sunday’s Eclipse Stakes is worth $140,000 and could have a significant bearing on the Karaka Million order of entry. It will be followed by a $35,000 race at Pukekohe on January 8, and then the $80,000 Listed Wellesley Stakes (1100m) at Trentham on January 14.


Stars on Karaka Million 3YO Classic Collision Course

Undefeated filly Legarto (NZ) heads to the Karaka Million 3YO Classic.

The Boxing Day races at Pukekohe have set the stage for an epic clash in the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) on January 21.

Sensational filly Legarto (NZ) (Proisir) and ever-improving gelding Wild Night (NZ) (Vanbrugh) each extended their winning sequence to five in a row with outstanding black-type performances on Monday.

Legarto backed up her five-length romp in last month’s Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) with a remarkable performance in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m), launching a phenomenal late run from an almost hopeless position to win with ease. She is now undefeated in five career starts.

Wild Night also asserted his superiority over a highly talented field in the Listed Shaw’s Wire Ropes Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m), improving his career record to five wins from six starts. Those five wins have come from his last six appearances.

The TAB sees the Karaka Million 3YO Classic as a two-horse race, rating Legarto a $1.60 favourite with Wild Night second at $3. The only other runner in single figures is Sacred Satono (NZ) (Satono Aladdin) at $8. Trained by Bruce Wallace and Grant Cooksley, Sacred Satono won the Group Three Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) before being runner-up behind Wild Night in the Uncle Remus.

Another one to watch might be the $10 fourth favourite, Prowess (NZ) (Proisir). A super-impressive winner of her first two starts, the filly placed behind Legarto in the Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) and against the boys in the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) before trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood freshened her up.

She warmed up for her return with a bold trial placing on December 23 at Matamata, and she will resume in this weekend’s $140,000 Group Two Jamieson Park Auckland Guineas (1600m) at Te Rapa.

“We’ve always believed that she’s pretty smart, but it’s looking like it might be one of the stronger three-year-old years we’ve had in New Zealand in recent seasons,” Wellwood said.

“But after giving her a freshen-up after the 2000 Guineas, we’re hoping she’ll come back that little bit bigger and stronger, so that she can really make her presence felt in some of the big races that are coming up – including the Karaka Million, which we’ve been aiming her towards.”