4 Win Saturday - Challa Delivers Season Win 140

Date: 12 Mar 2023

4 Win Saturday - Challa Delivers Season Win 140


Notching an early double on the programme, trainer Mark Walker registered his 140th win this season when Challa (6 g Dissident - Are There Any, by Exceed and Excel) won the $40,000 Hiremaster Rating 83 1000 metres on Saturday at Trentham.

Having won the first race with Sans Doute (Not A Single Doubt), Challa took honours courtesy of a terrific ride by apprentice jockey Temiya Taiaroa (a2), who made it two from two for the stable after recently scoring aboard Brando (Savabeel) at Otaki.

Taiaroa was again rewarded for a patient approach, settling usual pacemaker Challa behind the leaders from barrier one and once a gap appeared along the rail the combination was up to the task and kept finding.

At his previous start, Challa was swamped late for fourth in the Rating 88 1200 metres on 10 February at Hastings.

Drifting significantly in betting, Challa went from an earlier fixed odds quote of $4.50 to pay $7.20 & $2.40 on the NZ TAB tote, after running 1000 metres in 57.5 on Good4 footing. 

“He was actually a touch slowly away, but got a lovely run through and never left the fence,” Walker said. 

“He's such a good horse over 1000 metres and probably a shame we don't have many 1000-metre races in New Zealand.

“The farriers Kim Hughes, Gareth Allis and Davey Ellis have done a really good job to have his feet right.”

Challa recorded his previous victory in October at Matamata, heading home a Te Akau trifecta that included subsequent dual stakes' placed winner Fashion Shoot (Savabeel) and winner Millefiori (Iffraaj).

Stakes' placed when runner-up in his first three starts as a two-year-old, Challa is nothing if not resilient and patiently handled while finishing fourth or better in 16 of 28 starts. He continues rewarding his owners in the Te Akau Challa Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

Purchased by David Ellis CNMZ for $100,000, from the draft of Trelawney Stud, at the NZB 2018 Karaka Book 1 Sale, 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.

“He's always been a beautifully balanced horse and his dam sire Exceed and Excel has been a fantastic speed influence in Australia,” Ellis said. 

“He's a fast horses and he's proving competitive against some of the better sprinters in New Zealand.”

Challa was from the first crop of Australian Horse of the Year and Champion Sprinter, 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).

Getting to 140 wins, nine-time Champion Trainer Mark Walker remains on target to surpass the domestic record (160) set by previous Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards in 2020/21.

In just his 14th season training in New Zealand, Walker won five Trainers' Premierships between 1997 and 2010 during his first stint for Te Akau, adding four Champion Trainer titles during 10 years training for Te Akau in Singapore, before commencing again on 1 April last year from where it all began at Matamata. 

It has been a season of milestones for Walker, who achieved his 100th domestic stakes' success when Aromatic (Sacred Falls) won the Counties Cup (Gr. 2, 2100m) in November, notched the fastest 100 in New Zealand racing ing history when Pure Imagination (Darci Brahma) won on 13 January at Tauranga, breaking the previous record set by Richards on 28 January 2021, and recorded his 1000th domestic win when subsequent Matamata Breeders' Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) winner Zourion (Zoustar) scored on debut in the 2YO 1100 metres on 7 February at Taupo.

Challa was strapped by Ashley Handley. 


Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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