5 Win Saturday - Cheers for Challa

Date: 3 Sep 2023

5 Win Saturday - Cheers for Challa


As he has become accustomed, Challa (7 g Dissident – Are There Any, by Exceed and Excel) resumed on a winning note in the $50,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Open 1000 metres on Saturday at Riccarton.


Very familiar with the course, having stakes' placed there as a two-year-old, Challa has recorded four of his seven victories in a fresh-up state, since first winning in 2019, and the seven-year-old is showing no signs of stopping.

When trialling on 1 August at Te Rapa, Challa went forward from the outside gate to lead, cornered with advantage and found when challenged to win, before emulating the feat on race day.

Drawn barrier nine of 11, Challa winged the gates to cross and lead over the junction to the course proper and once rider Opie Bosson let the brakes go at the 400m he quickly found a race winning advantage. 

Scoring comfortably by one and a quarter lengths, Challa ran 1000 metres in a slick 57.7 on footing upgraded to Soft5 and drifted considerably in betting to pay $4.20 & $1.60 on the NZ TAB tote. 

“It was a lovely ride of Opie’s, taking bad luck out of the equation by going forward to control the tempo and great to see the horse back in winning form,” said co-trainer Mark Walker. 

“He’s getting a bit older now, but full credit to our farriers (Gareth Allis and Davey Ellis) who got his feet right before he went down to Riccarton. Along with Kim Hughes, who does consultancy work for us, the team of farriers we’ve got are absolutely first-class and much of the win can be attributed to them.”



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 one of our fastest horses and he’s proving competitive against some of the better sprinters in New Zealand.

“He’s been a fantastic horse for his owners, right from his two-year-old days when he showed real heart in his races and that’s stuck by him.

“His feet have been an issue, but between (trainers) Mark & Sam and our farriers he’s kept racing really well and looks in for another good campaign.” 



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).

Challa was strapped by Kendyll Lee. 



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


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