ANNIKE BYE HANSEN
Winner of Giant Sandman Cup
2nd Norwegian 1,000 Guineas
2nd Bloomers' Vase
2nd Nagell Erichsen Fillies & Mares Stakes
Half sister to French black type performer Hot Team and from the family of high class
US miler Ballagh Rocks as well as champion 2yo Unbridled's Song - sire of Arrogate.
Strong seasonal debut
Takeko runs second in 'Nagell-Erichsen'
17 May 22: Takeko, making her first start of the season, proved that she belongs in the elite of fillies and mares by taking second in the traditional Fam. Nagell-Erichsens Hoppeløp on this high profile raceday. She had to surrender to the odds-on favourite Iron Butterfly but ran on really well to hold second from For The Roses, while Tambora Queen wound up in fourth place. Takeko was ridden by Oliver Wilson. She dwelt slightly from stall one but was soon in a prominent position, racing a bit freely in third / fourth through the first part of the race. She was second coming into the home straight, as Smooth Escape continued to lead, and went ahead alongside Tambora Queen, who took the lead with about 300 metres to go. She could not sustain her run, however, and Takeko gained the upper hand 200 metres from the winning post. Iron Butterfly came from off the pace and swept by to beat her - in a race that promises so much for both these four-year-olds. I Rest My Case ran a fine race to take fourth in Forsommerløp for 3yos. GS
She's got a long term future
Takeko - just the type we need
Something is happening in Takeko's family – all the time. Which is why this makes her just the type of filly Scandinavian owners and breeders should import. Many will argue that it's not all that easy to spot a talented filly with her profile but, let's be honest about it, 'how hard can it be?' Take knowledge on horses, their conformation, their potential as runners, and combine it with a bit of homework, then narrow the search down to those that tick most of the boxes. It's still a longshot to buy a young thoroughbred – but those that make sure it's not an absolute shot in the dark do stand a better chance of success.
Takeko ticks quite a few boxes. Her sire Mehmas, offers that invaluable asset called speed, and his influence could well become even more productive, as she goes through with her racing campaign. She's not a star, but she has very good form and she comes from a family producing winners that go on as older horses. Her unraced dam, Ahd, who is a daughter of Evasive's father Elusive Quality, saw three more wins from her offspring in 2021. Her Zoffany son Hot Team won two 9-furlong handicaps at Hamilton Park and is thus now a winner of 4 races. He is also a Listed winner, having captured the Bordeaux le Bouscat in France as a juvenile. That's it you see, a winner at two that keeps up the good work at five. The kind of runner that sreves the sport in nothing but a positive way. His half-sister One Small Step (Footstepsinthesand) also doubled her tally in 2021, winning a 10-furlong handicap at Windsor, while yet another runner representing Ahd, the Anjaal son Allihies, won on his racecourse bow in Ireland, scoring in a 7-furlong maiden at Limerick. He ran just once more, and it's worth noting that he took part in the Eyrefield Stakes (G3) at Leopardstown. Yes, he was unplaced that day, but it's interesting to note that his connections decided to aim that highly with him. He is a gelding so it obviously wasn't with a brave move with a stud career in mind.
Ahd never raced – she was most certainly bred to, being a by a high class stallion out of Abby Road, who won the St. Hugh's Stakes (LR) and Newbury in her seven-race career. Abby Road was sent to the Keeneland November Sales in Kentucky, one of the world's most prestigious auctions for broodmare prospects, where she changed hands for $875,000. She has produced three winners, including Ajraam, a winner of 5 races. One of the others, Always Waitin, is also interesting – she was sold for $140,000 at the Keeneland Sales when she was just a foal.
These prices tell us one thing; that the horses were correct and seen as good broodmare prospects. Takeo seems to be in the same mold. Her racecourse record stands at 2 wins and 5 placed efforts from 13 starts, and she may be open to further improvement at four. Her two wins came over 1600 metres on the turf and she was also runner-up in the Norwegian 1,000 Guineas, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Iron Butterfly, who went on to win the Danish Derby on her subsequent start.
Although two of her siblings have won over further than a mile, Takeko's resume spells miler and that is also essentially how she was bred. Mehmas was a very smart juvenile, winning the July Stakes (G2) and Richmond Stakes (G2), and finishing second in the National Stakes (G1) and Coventry Stakes (G2). He only raced at two. His best son to date is the speedy and precocious Supremacy, winner of the Middle Park Stakes (G1) and Richmond Stakes (G3) in his first season.
Digging one generation back in Tekeko's female family, we find two high class US turf runners, half-brothers to Abby Road; namely Ballagh Rocks and Eh Cumpari. The latter won the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) over a mile at Gulfstream Park, while Ballagh Rocks was a hardy, tough miler who won 7 races up to the age of seven. His high point was a win in the Poker Stakes (G3) over a mile at Belmont Park. It may not be all that relevant, but talking about this family without mentioning Unbridled's Song would hardly make it justice, as he was champion juvenile colt in North American back in 1995, when he landed the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1). He was a son of Godspell, who was a sister to Abby Road's dam. Did Unbridled's Song carry his class through to the next season? You bet he did. He won the Florida Derby (G1) and Wood Memorial (G2) before his non-staying fifth in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He's not been too shabby as a sire either. Unbridled's Song is the father of the incredible Arrogate. And by the way, was Unbridled's Song also a correct, scopey and appealing young animal when sent to the sales? It does seem that way. Why else would Hiroshi Fujita fork out $1.4 million to secure the colt when he went through the ring at the Barretts Breeze Up Sale?
Whatever happens as Takeko continues with her racing, she will make a popular broodmare prospect when she retires. Let's just hope that we see her run, and win, a lot more before she gets to that stage of her life. GS 22030722
Beating 2,000 Guineas winner
Takeko wins Giant Sandman Cup
15 July 21: Takeko, who ran second in the Norwegian 1,000 Guineas, followed up with a win in the Giant Sandman Cup over 1600 metres on turf, where she not only beat the winner of the 2,000 Guineas but also proved far too good for older horses. This may have been a handicap though, in effect, Takeko was actually taking a step up in class here – and she is clearly one of the better three-year-olds in Scandinavia these days. Annike, with the help of Walter Buick, has once more proved that high class performers do not have to cost a fortune. Takeko was purchased for 12,000 guineas (about 150,000 kroner) at the Tattersalls December Sales and this win, worth 55,000 kroner, pushed her seasonal earnings to 155,000 kroner. Anything this daughter of Mehmas does from now on can be seen as a bonus. All being well with her, that bonus should be considerable, for Takeko just keeps on improving. This was only her fourth start, and second win, since she joined Annike's team.
Ridden by Jacob Johansen, Takeko captured the race by three parts of a length from Simply Minds, who held second by a neck from the staying-on Like a King. Like a King had won the Norwegian 2,000 Guineas on his previous outing, with Simply Minds a length behind him in fourth place. Like a King's winning time that day was just 1/10 sec. sharper than the time Takeko clocked as she was was runner-up in the fillies' classic.
Takeko was travelling noticeably well just off a strong pace in the Giant Sandman Cup, and she advanced to take charge approaching the 200-metres marker. Though 'take charge' may not be the right phrase, not quite that soon anyway, as five horses were all in with a chance at that stage. Takeko gradually drew off, and she won the race well, showing the same positive attitude we have seen from her in previous races. She ran third in a Dundalk maiden last October, and that race has now produced four subsequent winners of six races combined.
Annike said after the race that Takeko, owned by Ninja Racing, will be aimed at the Landwades Stud Stakes (LR) over this same course and distance on Derby day (22 August), “possibly with one run before that day”, according to the trainer. The Lanwades Stud is worth 150,000 kroner to the winner and has attracted 14 early entries; Ascot Brass, Bassoline, Buckybabe, Careless Whisper, Eesha My Flower, For The Roses, Freed From Desire, Nouvelle Lune, Queen Rouge, Rapidash, Sophie B, Takeko, Thunderry and Victiore Pisa. GS
1,000 Guineas next
Takeko impressive in maiden breaker
10 June 2021: Takeko was the shortest priced favourite on this eight-race card but not many could have expected her to win the night's maiden event in the manner she did. Ninja Racing's filly, imported from England ahead of this season, absolutely bolted up under a confident Per-Ander Gråberg, beating My French Dream hard held by 2 1/2 lengths. She ran the 1600 metres in 1.39.7, exactly the same time clocked by Simply Minds as he took a good winners' race over the same distance half a an hour earlier. The ground was good, something that clearly suited the well actioned Takeko much better than the heavy ground she encountered on her seasonal debut. She advanced smoothly coming up by the stands' side rail at the finish and got to the lead 300 metres out, where she quickened right away. In a matter of strides, it was all over. Her stable companion Tambora Queen missed the break completely in the same race and was always trailing thereafter. She did make up some ground, however, and beat two home. Takeko's next start will be in the Norwegian 1,000 Guineas on June 26, a race Annike won with Unwanted Beauty two years ago.
Seeyouincourt created a favourable impression when third in the sprint maiden on the night, while Calcaterre (fourth) and Meste dos Magos (fifth) were both a bit below form in Norsk Forening For Fullblodsavls Løp, won by Pirlo. GS
Stabell talk 2021
Takeko - interesting young filly
Annike secured an interesting young filly at the 2020 Tattersalls December Sales as her agent Walter Buick got the final bid for Takeko on behalf of a racing partnership. Takeko, formerly trained by Henry de Bromhead in Ireland, she is a maiden but she has good form in the book - something her Irish handicap mark of 80 confirms. She ran third in maiden races over 6 furlongs at The Curragh and Dundalk. Her good run at The Curragh came in June, while the Dundalk performance happened in October. Takeko has run well when sent to the lead and when held up up, and she seems versatile. A well bred daughter of Mehmas, she is out of Ahd (Elusive Quality) - an unraced mare that has has also produced Hot Team (Zoffany), a smart gelding whose finest hour came when he captured the one-mile Grand Criterium de Bordreaux (LR) as a juvenile. He had previously won a 7-furlong Novice Stakes at Newbury. Takeko's second dam, Abby Boad (Danehill), was a fast 2yo filly for trainer Brian Meehan. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Abby Road won the St. Hugh's Stakes (LR) at Newbury.
This is a family with a fair bit of speed, but it is also the family of Ballagh Rocks, a Grade 3 winning miler for top trainer Bill Mott in the USA. Ballagh Rocks has also finished second in the Maker's Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland and third in the Fourstardave (G1) at Saratoga. He is still in training. With good results and a decent pedigree, it's reasonable to assume that Takeko will make her mark this year. For a start, she must be one of the best maidens in Scandinavia.