4 Win Saturday - Brando Group 2 Boom

Date: 26 Mar 2023

4 Win Saturday - Brando Group 2 Boom


Already Group One placed twice over 1600 metres, Brando (5 g Savabeel - Saoirse, by Iffraaj) took another step in the right direction when winning the $120,000 Ultimate Mazda Japan Trophy (Gr. 2, 1600m) on Saturday at Tauranga.


He had come from last when running home well for fourth in the Open Handicap 1600 metres on 11 March at Trentham, following back-to-back wins prior over 1200 metres, including at Tauranga, but again trainer Mark Walker pulled the right rein when stretching him out again.

Brando was given a corker ride by former Te Akau apprentice Wiremu Pinn, camped behind the leaders and once sighting daylight in the straight was able to again show the brilliance that has earned him eight wins.

“He jumped really well, put himself there and gave me a really good feel throughout the race,” Pinn said.

“Once he got those splits up the straight, he's just been way too good for them. He put them away very easily.”

It may have been a performance of reckoning for Brando, who had previously placed in the Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m) and Otaki WFA Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m), winning with real authority by two lengths in a manner that suggested that not only could a Group One win be within his grasp but also that he may even get over more ground. 

“It was a really good win and great to see him back in such great form,” said trainer Mark Walker, after claiming his 31st stakes race this season.

“He's really put it all together heading into the autumn this year and I give plenty of credit to everyone that has played a part in trying to rejuvenate him and keep him interested in racing. 

“We've done a lot of dressage and show jumping with him away from the stables and tried any number of different things just to keep his mind on the job - water treadmills etc, you name it, we've tried it.”

On Soft5 footing, Brando ran 1600 metres in 1:37.3, the last 600m in 34.6, and paid $5.20 & $1.90 on the NZ TAB tote.

A beautiful looking horse, purchased by David Ellis CNZM at the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run, Brando was bred at Fairdale Stud, from whom Ellis also purchased $1m Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m) and Sistema Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) winner, now stallion in Australia, Cool Aza  Beel (Savabeel).

Brando became the fourth Japan Trophy winner for Te Akau, following Society Beau (Bigstone) and Integrate (Integra), and most recently Scott Base (Dalghar) in 2020.  

Accepting on behalf of the owners, Neil Bartosh, who manages the Mount RSA Syndicate, said: “Today was our 31st winner and we're pretty proud of Brando.

“Thank you to everyone at Te Akau, Wiremu, he's a good horse on his day and well done to all the owners.”

Te Akau racing manager Reece Trumper concluded: “I'd like to thank the owners for sticking with us. We had a few headaches with him in the spring, but the penny is starting to drop and he's becoming a really top sort. 

“He's a beautiful animal and certainly one of my favourites. I can't thank David Ellis enough for buying all these lovely horses and without him there would be no Te Akau and the industry would be a lot poorer for it.”

Brando was strapped by Stephanie Hyde-Richards.


Photo credit - Trish Dunnell


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