3 Win Saturday - Challa You Champ - Track Record

Date: 17 Sep 2023

3 Win Saturday - Challa You Champ - Track Record


Given a nicely judged ride, Challa (7 g Dissident – Are There Any, by Exceed and Excel) won the $50,000 Crawford Developments Open Handicap 1200 metres in track record time on Saturday at Riccarton.


Having resumed on a winning note in the Open Handicap 1000 metres a fortnight earlier at Riccarton, with Opie Bosson aboard and running fastest last 600m (32.9) on the day, Challa had weight relief courtesy of Ngakau Hailey (a4), good course/distance stats, and rated a top three chance.

Despite having to stand in the gates for a lengthy period while the field of 13 loaded, Challa came out running from barrier eight to cross and lead, was inside a line of four over the junction to the course proper and after gaining two lengths inside the 300m he continued finding to stave off his nearest rival.

Winning with a neck to spare over Our Echo (Echoes Of Heaven), Challa ran 1200 metres track record time (1:06.7) on Good3 footing and drifted in betting to return generous odds ($5.50 & $1.80) on the NZ TAB tote. 

Challa beat the previous 1200-metre track record (1:07.0) set by Pushy Too (Phountzi) in 2008, 15 years ago.

“He was well ridden by Ngakau and it was another really good effort by the horse,” said co-trainer Mark Walker. 

“It’s great to see these older horses continue to race so well and obviously the (four-kilo) weight claim was the winning of the race.

“He was positive out of the gates and great to see the old boy in the winner’s circle yet again.”



Recording his eighth victory, and fourth at the distance, Challa was the first foal from Are There Any, a mare that won six races from 1300m to 2050m in Melbourne, while his grand-dam, Honest Politician (Distorted Humor), was also a very tough racehorse that won eight times (1600m – 2000m) in Australia.

Purchased by David Ellis CNMZ for $100,000, from the draft of Trelawney Stud, at the NZB 2018 Karaka Book 1 Sale, he is owned by Te Akau Challa Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

“It shows what an unbelievable trainer Mark (Walker) is,” Ellis said. “This is a seven-year-old, won his last two starts, both $50,000 stakes, and he’s racing right at the top of his game.

“Young Ngakau (16) gave him a terrific ride and he’s apprenticed to Debbie Sweeney (nee Sanders) at Te Awamutu. Her father, Graeme Sanders, is a great friend of ours and they’re a top horse family.

“It was great to put the young man on, make use of his claim, and it looks like he’s got a really good future.”

Challa was from the first crop of Australian Horse of the Year, Champion Sprinter and five-time Group One winner Dissident (Sebring). Trained by Peter Moody, Dissident was known for his exceptionally tough qualities when winning from 1000 metres to 1600 metres. 

The mating also has a lovely cross of once the greatest sire of stakes winners in the world, Danehill (Danzig).

As is often the case, horses strike form at a similar time each season and Challa is no exception as he won on the same day last year over 1100 metres at Taupo.

Challa was strapped by Shane McCann. 


Photo credit - Ajay Berry - www.raceimages.co.nz


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