A ride down memory lane: David Ellis of Te Akau Racing

4 Aug 2020
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

With our history spanning over 160 years, we thought it high time to ask a few (not so old!) friends of Auckland Racing Club (ARC) to recall their favourite memories of racing here at Ellerslie.


Today we chat to Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis CNZM about his favourite memory.


David accepting the trophy for the $1,000,000 Karaka Million 2YO 2020 from Minister for Racing / Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Winston Peters


Says David…

“There are several specific memories that stand out to me with our horses racing at Ellerslie Racecourse.

“I thought that the biggest thrill I would ever get out of racing at Ellerslie was when I won my first Group 1 there in 1986 – when my mare Cosmetique beat Waverley Star by a nose in the Group I Easter Handicap.

I must admit though that winning our fifth Karaka Million race (our fifth in the last four years) is an Ellerslie memory that I will treasure always.


“To win the Karaka 2YO Million for the fourth year in a row in January this year when Cool Aza Beel claimed line-honours, and then to have Probabeel follow on from her 2YO Million victory to make it a double on the night when winning the 3YO Million – it was beyond any of the Te Akau team’s wildest dreams!

“This year certainly took the excitement of racing at Ellerslie to another level.

“Both horses were ridden by Te Akau’s stable jockey, Opie Bosson, and it was an incredibly special evening.

Opie Bosson and Probabeel after winning the $1,000,000 Karaka Million 3YO here in January


“My third biggest thrill at Ellerslie was winning two Group 1 races within an hour of each other for the second year in a row.

“This year, it was on Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day when Avantage won the Bonecrusher Stakes before Cool Aza Beel won the Sistema Stakes less than an hour later.

“They repeated the effort of last year’s Te Akau winners Melody Belle and Yourdeel.

“Melody Belle went on to be named Horse of the Year and Yourdeel was Champion 2YO of the Year.

“Finally, another Ellerslie memory that must be highlighted was when Gingernuts won the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby three years ago.

Now-retired at David’s Te Akau Stud, Gingernuts, aka Jerry, made a return to Ellerslie in March this year to lead out the field of the Vodafone New Zealand Derby 2020


“That was a very special occasion not only for a terrific bunch of owners, but for the legendary horse himself – our ‘Jerry.’

“Winning races at Ellerslie is a life changing-experience.

“I cannot describe just how exciting it is and what a thrill Karyn and I get out of seeing the ‘Tangerine Army’ race there, let alone streak past the winning post in first place!”

Major Partners