Friday Flash – 17th December

  KING ARTHUR wins for the 2nd time in Singapore 27th Nov 2021 – Hakim Kamaruddin in the saddle



Fortuna has one NZ runner this week Saturday at Te Rapa, – Singapore racing season has come to an end for 2021 – racing resumes up there  2nd January

New Zealand

KHAFEEF contests the Rating 74 2100m, a Dunstan Feeds qualifying race, at Te Rapa Saturday 18th – Race 6 at 3.30pm – been freshened since his strong NZ Cup performance and now on a path to the Wellington Cup – rider of the moment Lemmy Douglas, claiming 4kgs, takes the mount – Drawn wide, so will need some luck, but perfectly suited by the track conditions and the trip – will be strong to the line – good each way chance and can win

Fortuna Track work – Matamata

Tuesday 14th December

Soprano Supreme (J Kamaruddin) galloped over 1000 metres in 1.06.7, final 600 in 38.7.

Dancarina (A Gujar) galloped over an easy 800 metres in 55, last 600 in 39.

Thursday 16th December

Breaking News – 

Jamie Richards to leave Te Akau Racing to take up a training position in Hong Kong
Mark Walker to return to New Zealand to (once again) assume the role of Te Akau New Zealand Head Trainer
Expat Kiwi, Singapore based Trainer, Donna Logan to become Head Trainer for the Te Akau and Fortuna Teams in Singapore
Certainly some bomb shell news there to take in and full press release from Te Akau is available HERE so I won’t repeat it, but simply cover these changes from the perspective of Fortuna Racing, which is, after all, Te Akau’s biggest Ownership Group with 32 horses currently in work New Zealand and Singapore

Jamie Richards – these are difficult words for me to write as Jamie and I have built an outstanding and professional working relationship over the past six or seven years and, frankly, I am going to miss that relationship. An individual, who as a young man, simply picked up the bit and ran with it, ever since being given the opportunity by David and Mark, he has made every post a winning post with his drive and determination, his work ethic, his eye for a horse, his communication skills and his ambition and desire to “be the best he could be”.

Frankly, I could hardly believe the news when first told, as I had imagined that Jamie would always be part of the Te Akau Team as Head Trainer here in NZ and eventually in Australia, as it is inevitable that Te Akau will open a Stable in Australia in time. But, as I reflected on it, I drew the conclusion that the same steely determination that Jamie  had brought to his Te Akau role, was also the same determination that has led him to depart the relatively safe haven of Te Akau Racing and strike out in a fresh direction into the white hot cauldron of Hong Kong Racing, a cauldron in which there is no place to hide. Go well, Jamie, may the road ahead rise steadily in front of you and the breeze be always at your back.

Mark Walker. Once again, these are difficult words for me to write as Mark and I have also forged a powerful working and personal relationship over the past eighteen years, firstly in the years 2003 to 2010 which encompassed the period where I transited from a private stable client of Te Akau to a Syndicator and secondly, in the eleven years since Mark moved to Singapore to plant the Te Akau banner. In that time, I have watched and observed (and participated) as Mark has picked up nine Trainer’s Premierships (5 in NZ, 4 in Singapore). My working relationship with Mark is professional, powerful and built on mutual respect – we have never had a cross word with each other and Mark’s skills as a Trainer and a horseman are world class.

I am truly excited that Mark is able to come back to New Zealand to be Head Trainer, particularly at this time, as NZ Racing starts to take it’s first steps with a new structure and increasing prizemoney. And the Te Akau NZ Racing Stable that Mark is returning to is a vastly different beast to the one he left 11 years ago, as David and Karyn have (with Mark’s input as well) worked extremely hard in that time to improve the Te Akau facilities (development of the Matamata race course barns, mechanical walker etc) and most importantly, lift the quality of their staff and admin team right across the board. On top of that David (again with input from Jamie and Mark) has continued to hone his skills in the sales ring, providing a continual stream of high quality thoroughbreds for the training team to work with.

On a personal front (for Mark) he has an elderly Mother here in NZ and two teenaged children (living with their Mother on the Gold Coast) – it goes without saying that the last two years have been extremely difficult for Mark on the family front, not having been able to return (due to Covid) for almost two years and so this new opportunity is a definite bonus for him. I am sure all of the “Fortuna Family” will join with me and Jessica in welcoming Mark, his partner Mirka and their 2yo daughter Skyla back to New Zealand.

Donna Logan  (Disclaimer – I have been a huge admirer of Donna Logan as a trainer and horsewoman for many years).

As readers will be aware the Fortuna Team has had significant success in Singapore over the 11 years we have been racing there and 2021 was an outstanding one for us with 19 wins, 14 2nds and 11 3rds from a Team of just 13 horses to the races. Mark Walker and I, as you would expect, talk regularly, not just about our runners, but also about the state of Singapore racing and from time to time, who would replace Mark, if he ever left Singapore. This latter point was always “academic” of course, because up until the current situation presented itself, Mark was fully committed to continuing as Singapore Trainer for Te Akau and Fortuna. And we always drew the conclusion that there would be plenty of time to “groom” a young up and comer into the role.

So, fast forward to the current situation and the “academic” discussion was just that – a nice theory. No time for any “grooming” – and yet the answer was there right in front of us with Donna – a Kiwi, already in Singapore (after relocating from NZ in Singapore in 2018), successful there with a relatively small team (just 24 horses on average during 2021) – trained the winner of the S$1m Kranji Mile (Minister) in 2021 – her small team meaning that the two stables would have little difficulty merging (Trainer nos are limited in Singapore) – and most importantly, a superb horsewoman – all NZ racing fans will recall Donna, from her Ruakaka base, always dominant in the North, but always having a nice horse or two competing at the top level, Volkstock’nbarrell probably being her best horse in New Zealand

What I admire about Donna, is that in 2018, recognising how difficult life was becoming for NZ Trainers in the provinces, she made application to the Singapore Turf Club for a Trainers Licence and was successful – this was a huge call in my mind as to try and establish yourself in a new training environment with just limited Ownership support initially, is very daunting – and yet she has made a fair fist of it, albeit with limited numbers. Now she gets her opportunity with a “ready made” team of horses. Mark will continue (from NZ) to assist Donna with the programming of the Singapore Team and all of Mark’s staff will be retained with Donna bringing six of of her staff over as well.  I am looking forward to 2022 season, we have a great team of 13 runners and 3 more on the way soon. And our Owners in Singapore can rest assured that their horses are going to be in the hands of a highly experienced and committed Trainer – Donna’s first day as Trainer of the new set up will be 2nd January, a day on which the Fortuna Stable will have 4 runners on the first day of the new season (no pressure Donna!!!).

Over the next few days, once the handover is completed, I will engage with Donna and I am sure that she and I will very quickly develop a strong, professional working relationship.

Fortuna Racing – 30 winners in 2021

Great year in 2021 for the Fortuna Racing Team with 30 individual winners – 19 in Singapore and 11 in New Zealand.
Highlight included
Two Group One victories for Melody Belle as her career came to an end – these giving her 14 Group One victories altogether – a new record for a NZ Owned and Trained Horse
Entertainer winning six races in Singapore
Hadeer winning three races in a row in Singapore
Beau Geste winning 4 races in NZ, three over the jumps, including one wins Wanganui where he won by 38 lengths
Elliot Ness breaking a track record over 1200m in Singapore when winning his Maiden Race
Mohawk Brave winning his debut race at Te Aroha
Click HERE to see Video Footage of the closing stages of all of these wins