By NZ Racing Desk
New Zealand: Racing received a double blow on Thursday with the deaths of two much-loved retired champions, Te Akau Shark and Silent Achiever.
Dual G1 winner Te Akau Shark, retired from racing in December, died after a series of health complications.
Trained by Jamie Richards, the six-year-old was placed in the Cox Plate in 2019 before a pair of G1 wins in early 2020 in the BCD Sprint at home and the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick in Sydney.
But the gelding developed a degenerative eye condition during the 2020 Sydney autumn carnival and failed to recover completely after undergoing surgery for the issue last year.
New Zealand’s dominant racing operation Te Akau issued a statement on Thursday, saying: “It is with immense pain and sadness that we announce that our beloved Te Akau Shark has lost his brave health battle.
“We are shattered by your loss and will be eternally grateful to have had you, our great red giant, in our lives.”
Part-owned by rugby league great Paul Gallen, Te Akau Shark won seven of his 14 career starts. He has been buried at Te Akau Stud.
Four-time G1 winner Silent Achiever died on Thursday morning at Kevin and Joanna Hickman’s Valachi Downs property. She was 12.
“She was a special mare who raced with heart and gave her all to every race,” said owner-breeder Kevin Hickman, speaking to NZ Racing News.
Nicknamed the ‘Giant Killer’ by Australian media, she crossed the Tasman Sea to win both the Ranvet Stakes and BMW (Tancred) at Rosehill at the Sydney autumn carnival in 2014.
Silent Achiever won ten of her 36 starts during a long career in which she was also third in the Cox Plate behind Adelaide in October 2014. She earned more than A$3.6m (about £2m) in prize-money.
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