Nigella's a Waiheke fan
Nigella Lawson and Ontrack Thoroughbreds have one thing in common. We both love Waiheke Island.
The English foodie was in NZ recently to launch her new stage show An Evening With Nigella Lawson and her first port of call was beautiful Waiheke Island, an easy boat ride from downtown Auckland.
The island is the famous foodie’s favourite Kiwi haunt and she posted a picture on social media of what looked like a blissful afternoon drinking sauvignon blanc on a deck overlooking Oneroa's dazzling blue harbour.
Ontrack’s annual New Zealand Horse and Wine Tour also makes Waiheke Island one of the first ports of call spending the second day of the six day tour on the picturesque venue.
“The day at Waiheke Island is always one of the highlights of New Zealand, and that’s on a trip with plenty of sensational scenery,” said Ontrack’s Grant Morgan.
“The 30 minute ferry trip from Auckland to Waiheke is the perfect start to the day and we work in a scenic tour around the island, wine tasting at two stunning wineries and then lunch at the sensational Mudbrick Vineyard.
“People on the tour usually can’t believe how beautiful Waiheke Island is and how close it is to downtown Auckland.
“The cuisine at Mudbrick is sensational and dining there looking out over the spectacular Hauraki Gulf is a memorable experience and it comes as no surprise that a renowned foodie such as Nigella Lawson is a fan of the place,” said Grant Morgan.
The 2019 Ontrack New Zealand Horse and Wine Tour runs from November 21-26.
Savabeel dominates Group one
Champion stallion dominates the breeding and racing scene in New Zealand and this weekend’s Group One New Zealand Oaks illustrates just how big a factor the horse is over the ditch.
The Oaks is run over 2400 metres on Trentham’s hallowed turf and Savabeel will be represented by four runners in the $400,000 event.
He has race favourite Queen of Diamonds, will also be represented by Clementina, Elate and Savy Young Blonk.
Ontrack Thoroughbreds Grant Morgan has long been a fan of Savabeel and said the progress of the former Cox Plate winner to champion stallion had been closely followed by Ontrack clients on the annual New Zealand Horse and Wine Tour.
“Savabeel is always one of the most popular horses when the Ontrack Tour heads to Waikato Stud each November. He’s a fantastic stallion who is at the peak of his powers and he just turns out fantastic horses each year.
“This season Savabeel has had 13 individual stakes winners in New Zealand this term and has already sired the New Zealand Oaks winners Savvy Coup (2018) and Savaria (2015).
“Savvy Coup tackles the Group I Coolmore Stakes in Sydney this weekend, with another Savabeel filly Probabeel running in the Group II Magic Night Stakes at Rosehill.”
Queen of Diamonds was bred by Cambridge Stud and the filly sold for $640,000 to China Horse Club at the Karaka Premier Sale in 2017.
“Cambridge Stud is also a very popular venue on our New Zealand tour so there will be plenty of interest in watching to see if the magnificent farm can add to its incredible list of Group One winners at Trentham,” said Grant Morgan.
Exciting times for Auckland
Guests on this year’s Ontrack’s New Zealand tour will notice the major developments associated with the defence of yachting’s America’s Cup in 2021.
New Zealand won sailing’s biggest prize for the second time in 2017 and has scheduled its defence to start in Auckland in early 2021.
Ontrack’s New Zealand tour starts with a dinner at the Auckland Viaduct, the home of America’s Cup yachting and a venue which owes its existence to the event.
“The developments around the America’s Cup have transformed Auckland into a cosmopolitan city and we dine at the Viaduct on the first night and it’s a magical venue,” said Ontrack’s Grant Morgan.
“The Viaduct is home of some of Auckland’s very best restaurants and it’s always a vibrant part of Auckland City.
“Winning the America’s Cup for a second time has sparked a new round of development centred on the Auckland Waterfront and it will be interesting to get back there in November and see what’s been done and what’s in progress.
“The Ontrack Tour also heads to Waiheke Island on day two leaving the ferry terminal for a pleasant trip out to the island.
“The defence of the America’s Cup will see an upgrade to the ferry terminal which will involve reclamation to create more open space alongside Quay St and replacing the current eight ferry berths with 12 to 15 berths.
“The first thing that will be on show during the Ontrack Tour this year is the Commercial Bay project on the old Downtown shopping centre site at the bottom of Queen St.
“The Commercial Bay is a 39-level office tower and 120 shops, bars and restaurants and it’s going to be interesting to see how this development changes the Auckland Waterfront,” said Grant Morgan.