Akoya repays connections

Danielle Johnson cruising to the finish aboard Akoya at Taupo today.

Danielle Johnson cruising past the winning post aboard Akoya at Taupo today.

Stephen Marsh’s thoughts were with owner Joan Egan after her talented filly Akoya cleared maiden ranks at Taupo today.

“I’m rapt to get this win for Joan Egan,” said Marsh. “She has been very patient with this filly – she’s had a few problems with her.

“She’s been off the scene for a little bit. It’s a great result all round.”

Akoya first stepped out on the racetrack when winning a juvenile trial over 650 metres at Cambridge 13 months ago then reappeared when successful in a Cambridge trial over 800 four months later.

Egan then had to wait until last month for the next racetrack sighting of Akoya and again the Bullbars filly looked smart, winning an 800-metre Cambridge trial.

Akoya made her raceday debut late last month at Te Aroha and wound up a handy third behind High Distinction after having no luck in the running.

“I thought her first-up run was really good,” said Marsh. “She got caught three-wide without cover and worked hard the whole way. She fought solidly and wasn’t beaten far.”

That Te Aroha performance saw Akoya start a hot favourite in today’s Mainfreight 1000 and she didn’t let her supporters down.

She disputed a fast pace when being taken on by Island Bay and kicked rounding the home turn to put a break on her four rivals. She then drew further clear inside the last 150 metres to win by four lengths from Felice’s Dream.

“She was a fraction slow out of the gates — she was playing up a little bit, but she’s been dominant today,” said rider Danielle Johnson.

“Her trackwork has been phenomenal the last couple of weeks. She has been working like a winner.

“She’s a real sprinter. She’s very fast.”

Egan has been breeding from Akoya’s family since purchasing her third dam, Splash Of Beauty (by Luskin Star), and has bred her share of winners from the line, including Splash Of Beauty’s first foal, Cheiron, who won 11 races from the stable of Marsh’s father, Bruce.

Cheiron’s major wins came in the Gr.2 QTC Sir Byrne Hart Stakes and the Gr.3 Marton Merial Metric Mile and he was second in the Gr.1 Telegraph Handicap and the Mudgway Partsworld Stakes, third in the Gr.2 GCTC Hollindale Stakes and fourth in the Gr.1 QTC Stradbroke Handicap.