Akoya pleasantly baffles owner

Akoya (Rosie Myers) burning off her rivals with the fastest last 600 metres at Trentham yesterday.

Akoya (Rosie Myers) burning off her rivals with the fastest last 600 metres at Trentham yesterday.

Hamilton owner-breeder Joan Egan doesn’t mind being proved wrong by Akoya if the Cambridge-trained filly can continue to do what she did at Trentham yesterday.

After Akoya had outsprinted her opposition in the Go Racing Syndications Premier 1000, Egan admitted she wasn’t expecting such speed from the three-year-old filly when she sent her Pentire dam Penny Bright to Bullbars in 2012.

“When I bred her I always wanted to breed an Oaks filly, but it’s not this one,” said a delighted Egan after the Stephen Marsh-trained Akoya made it two wins from three starts.

Egan has been breeding from Akoya’s family since securing her third dam, Splash Of Beauty (by Luskin Star), who was bred in Australia by The Nook Stud and won two 1000-metre sprints in Victoria.

The latest addition to the line for Egan is a Reliable Man – Penny Bright filly who is a half-sister to Akoya, and the pressure will be on her to maintain the good record of Penny Bright as both her foals have been winners. Penny Bright’s first foal, Anacott Steel (by Tavistock), has been a winner over 1400 metres and 11 times placed in Australia.

Akoya traces back to her Vanotrice (by Vain), her fourth dam who was unsuccessful in two starts but had breeding appeal being from the top racemare Toltrice, the winner of 14 races including the Gr.1 VRC Oaks and the Gr.1 VATC One Thousand Guineas.

Toltrice has been the source of many top-class performers including her sons Seltrice (Gr.1 Western Australian Derby) and the sires Tolhurst (Joint second on the 1979-80 3YO Classification, 1300-2000m; 10 wins, Gr.2 Ascot Vale etc) and Almurtajaz (three Group Two wins, including Memsie Stakes, and runner-up in the Gr.1 Caulfield Guineas).

She also left Vain Display, a multiple stakeswinner and dam of Gr.1 VRC Lightning Stakes winner Keltrice (placed in four Group Ones), who also went on to stand at stud.

Egan has bred a host of winners from Akoya’s family with the best being Splash Of Beauty’s first foal, Cheiron, who was prepared by Marsh’s father, Bruce, and won 11 races with the highlights being the Gr.2 Sir Byrne Hart Stakes in Queensland and the Gr.3 Marton JC Metric Mile.

Cheiron was also runner-up to Fritz in the 2000 Gr.1 Telegraph Handicap at Trentham and was beaten by Cent Home when second in the Mudgway Partsworld Stakes at Hastings. He was also fourth behind Landsighting in the 2000 Gr.1 Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane.

Now maybe Akoya could be the next sprinting star for Egan’s bloodlines.

Sure it was only a special conditions maiden event yesterday, but the ability shown by Akoya suggests she could be an exciting sprinter and maybe follow in the big-sprint footsteps of Cheiron.

Marsh has always had a lot of faith in Akoya, but it hasn’t been an easy road to get her to the races as he revealed after her maiden win at Taupo — “She (Egan) has been very patient with this filly – she’s had a few problems with her.”

Akoya won her first trial 14 months ago at Cambridge as a two-year-old and wasn’t sighted again until winning a Rotorua trial last March. It was then a further eight months before she fronted up again and won another trial, at Cambridge last November, a year to the day since her first trials win.

Akoya then suffered her first defeat when third on debut behind High Distinction at Te Aroha on November 23 after being caught three-wide without cover and having to work hard all the way.

She then produced her best when leading and kicking clear for a four-length win at Taupo last month – and that was after being taken on in front.

On the strength of that win, she looked a huge chance yesterday and at no stage did she look like letting down her supporters, including punters who backed her into $2.40 for a win.

The only scare Egan and the Marsh camp had was when the engaged rider Rosie Myers had to stand down from her ride in the previous race after that horse Galway Lil reared up and dropped her in the birdcage.

But Myers bounced back and was all focused on Akoya and soon had her travelling smoothly in front. Then when she asked her to kick halfway down the straight there was immediate response and Akoya won as she liked by two and a quarter lengths from the southern visitor Ellerstina.

“She’s a beautiful filly to ride,” said Myers, who was filling in for the suspended Danielle Johnson. “She jumped and put herself right in the race. She wanted to be there.”

Akoya ran the 1000 metres in a quick 56.5 seconds and she recorded the fastest last 600 metres of the day (32.51 seconds), with the next quickest time registered by Margarita Mover (32.66) when finishing a close third to Sabotage (32.8) in the fourth event, a Rating 75 1200 metres.

Marsh will give Akoya time to get over yesterday’s trip south and race, but he is sure to now lift his sights with the exciting filly.