Te Akau Ben leg-up for Logan , Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Te Akau Ben leg-up for Logan

Watching from home, convalescent trainer gets best medicine from consistent galloper

There is nothing like a winner to lift a trainer’s spirits, especially when confined at home recovering from a minor ailment.

Donna Logan was one such trainer – on the mend, but still not 100 per cent to be on hand at Kranji on June 22. She handed the helm over to husband and racing manager Peter Woods.

From her small team of five runners, the Kiwi trainer was pinning her hopes on Te Akau Ben in the $50,000 Class 4 race (1,400m), and Santino in the $75,000 Novice race (1,400m) to a lesser extent.

Santino flopped after beating one home, but Te Akau Ben did not let the stable down.

He scored in a thriller to give his trainer that much-needed tonic – as well as the overall team, who had found the winning post elusive since their double with Axel and Red Maned on May 25.

“It’s super to give Donna a win when she’s not around. I’m sure she’s watching from home,” said Woods.

“She actually thought she could make it today, but she decided to take a rest in the end. She’ll be back next week.”

Te Akau Ben’s nose-win from Hasten must have given Logan’s heart quite a workout in the last 600m.

Trapped four deep throughout after breaking from the outermost alley in the 10-horse field, the Tavistock six-year-old could have been a spent force turning for home.

But he looked full of running. Vitor Espindola was still sitting pretty as the Te Akau Racing Stable-owned galloper drew on level terms with Colonel Son (Krisna Thangamani) at the 400m, ready to explode any second.

The Brazilian jockey, who boasted one win and four placings from five previous rides on Te Akau Ben, waited another 100m before getting busier in the saddle.

He even glanced twice on his offside, but the real danger was hailing from the nearside – Hasten (Simon Kok).

The duo paired off inside the last 100m, finishing locked together at the winning post.

Espindola had a good hunch his horse had put his head down at the right moment to hand him his seventh 2024 winner.

“It was close, but I was confident we won. My horse never stopped,” he said.

“I know this horse very well. I’ve ridden him five times before.

“I know how to ride him. From the bad barrier, he was four wide, but he was very comfortable.

“The horse was travelling very well, but I waited and waited, and we won. I love this horse.”

Woods said the only question mark was the awkward alley, but the yard had banked on his faultless form to overcome that setback.

“We were a bit worried about the draw, but he’s done a good job,” said the New Zealander.

“He loves the course and distance, and the short course. He was our best chance of the day.

“Espindola gets on well with him. He gave the horse a very good ride.”

The team saddled three other runners, but Red Maned, Contarelli and Otahuhu could not conjure up another win.

Logan currently sits mid-table (10th) on the Singapore trainers’ premiership on 11 winners, and is obviously grateful to the Te Akau Stable for not just her latest winner, but mostly for their steadfast support till the end.

However, it was not just the New Zealand powerhouse with the famous tangerine silks who was remembered at the winner’s circle.

The last part of the winner’s portmanteau name is the giveaway.

“We’d like to say a special thank you to David Ellis (Te Akau’s principal owner) and Ben Kwok as well,” said Woods.

“David’s supported us through thick and thin while Ben, who’s from Hong Kong, had horses like Montana Flash and High Water with us, but they’ve all gone to Malaysia now.

“Ben has kept his share in Te Akau Ben, who is named after both him and David’s Te Akau.”