For once being the king of bad barrier draws might actually help Te Akau Shark on his A$1 million quest in Sydney today.

The Kiwi superstar is the $2 favourite to win the George Ryder Stakes in which he takes on The Bostonian, Happy Clapper and the New Zealand-owned 3-year-old Super Seth.

Te Akau Shark drops back from a stunning 1600m win last start on the wide expanses of Randwick to 1500m around the smaller Rosehill and he has once again come up with a wide barrier, drawn eight of nine.

That shouldn't surprise anybody because while barriers are almost always drawn by computer, Te Akau Shark's relationship with that computer defies all mathematical logic.


In 12 career starts he has only drawn inside barrier seven once, when he came from barrier four to win at Te Rapa two starts ago.

It gets worse in Australia where in four starts The Shark has drawn barriers 12, 14, 15 and 10 to go with today's eight.

There is no greater myth in horse racing than visitors' barrier draws when horses go overseas — computers don't tend to be parochial — but The Shark must be one of the unluckiest horses in barrier draw history.

It hasn't stopped him compiling a very good record with seven wins (two Group 1s) and four placings in those 12 starts, his finishing kick his weapon of choice.

That, coupled with another couple of more localised factors, is why jockey Opie Bosson think he will overcome the draw today.

"He does get a lot of them but they probably don't affect him as badly because he is not really a horse who jumps and puts himself there (near the lead)," says Bosson.

"And I think again this week it might actually suit him.

Opie Bosson. Photo / Trish Dunell
Opie Bosson. Photo / Trish Dunell

"There could be a bit of speed in the race and it is not a big field.


"Rosehill is still wet and probably had some damage from racing there last week so coming wide may not be the worst place to be." Rosehill was rated a soft7 on the verge of a six last night with the rail out three metres but expectations are it will improve to a five today. Bosson says that would be almost ideal.

The champion jockey has been in Sydney all week after rushing there last Sunday night to beat the virus travel restrictions so he could partner horses like Te Akau Shark, Melody Belle and Probabeel in coming weeks.

"I was down the back of the farm with Max (son) and had to rush up to the house, pack a bag and go.
"So I am here for the carnival but I have picked up a couple more rides and it looks like a couple more outside ones next week too."

Being in Sydney means Bosson has been very hands-on with Te Akau Shark this week and says the big horse feels fit and healthy, nearing his peak after two starts back.

"He is ready to go big again."

He also reunites with Danzdanzdance in the A$700,000 Ranvet Stakes, a horse he won two Group 1s on in New Zealand before she transferred to the Chris Waller barn.

She was lacklustre under a big weight in weaker company last start and while this isn't the strongest Ranvet ever she does meet fellow Kiwi exported mare Verry Elleegant and more importantly English raider Addeybb.

The latter beat Magic Wand (who conquered Melody Belle in November) over 2000m on a soft track at Royal Ascot last June and at his last start in October finished second to outstanding mare Magical in the Champion Stakes again at Ascot on soft ground.

That is world class form and if he is at his peak he will be too good for today's rivals.

Bosson also partners Scorpz in the Rosehill Guineas, another case of his late flight last Sunday positioning him as the go-to jockey for Kiwi trainers sending horses to the carnival.

"He has a good barrier and I think he can run a cheeky race but the way he hit the line in the Derby back home I think he will be even better over 2400m in two weeks."

Racing today


● Racing continues at three New Zealand tracks today: Tauranga, Riccarton (gallops), Winton (harness).
● All will be run as workplaces, so no public or owners allowed, just raceday staff and licence holders essential to the meetings because of Covid-19 restrictions.
● All thoroughbreds have had their normal weights they would have carried raised 2kgs to help jockeys stay healthier because of the threat of infection.
● The TAB will operate normal betting services on racing and all races will be televised on Trackside.
● The major Australasian meeting is Rosehill in Sydney which features five Group 1 races and a huge Kiwi flavour as well as the A$3.8 million Golden Slipper.