A Mighty Spar-kling Win

Date: 12 Jun 2024

A Mighty Spar-kling Win

Given an excellent ride by Aaron Kuru, The Mighty Spar (6 g Savabeel – O’Dianne, by O’Reilly) won the $50,000 Ecycle Solutions Steeplechase (3296m) on 11 June at Sale (Victoria).

The only entry on the card for trainer Mark Walker, The Mighty Spar last won when defending his title in the South Waikato Cup (Rating 81, 2000m) on 13 March at Matamata, and of late had been in good form over fences when finishing fourth in the Galleywood Hurdle (3200m) on 1 May at Warrnambool, and second in the Hammonds Paints Steeplechase (3450m) on 30 May at Hamilton.

Aboard for his most recent assignment, Kuru positioned The Mighty Spar beautifully in the trail, never spending a penny, and coming across heels to challenge nearing the home turn, he gained the measure of pacemaker Carnamah (Blackfriars) once over the last. 

The win continued a terrific association between Te Akau and the former New Zealand Champion Jumps Jockey of the Year, who has recorded three wins and two seconds from six rides for the stable this season.

Kuru won aboard Leaderboard (Street Cry) in the Maiden Hurdle (3200m) on the first day (30 April) of the Warrnambool Carnival in Victoria, who subsequently finished second in the Australian Hurdle (3900m), and also Prismatic (Savabeel) who won the Eric Musgrove Racing Maiden Hurdle (3200m) on 30 May at Hamilton (Victoria).

Post race, on The Mighty Spar, Kuru said: “The barrier (one) was a huge positive for this horse.

“I got a dream run throughout and this guy has come on for his first start over (steeplechase) fences and he jumped unbelievable today. He missed one, but made a very good job of it.

“Top of the straight, I was probably going to win by 20 lengths, but he had a good think and it’s a huge positive that he got the job done.

“I think he’s a great galloper, this horse, and he has a lot of upside to him. Once he figures it out and wants to get the job done, he’s going to go on with it to make quite a nice steeplechaser. 

“Te Akau does such a good job and Ben Gleeson, here in Melbourne, is doing a terrific job. I’m not sure what sort of knowledge he’s got with the jumpers, but their strike rate is quite amazing, so well done to him and the team.”

Comments backed up by the presenter, when saying: “Well done to the Mark Walker stable. They can train and you can be part of that, of course, as you can see on Racing.com with our adverts if you want to be part of the Te Akau racing club, which is not a bad club to be with.”

Vying for favouritism throughout, The Mighty Spar ran the two-mile (plus) trip in 3:58 on Soft7 footing and paid $2.70 & $1.40 on the NZ TAB tote.

“It was a great win today,” Walker said. “Going out to the beach after his last run did him the world of good, and it was a super ride by Aaron (Kuru).

“Ben (Gleeson) and the team presented him in great order, and it was great to see the improvement in his jumping from his first start over steeples compared to today. 

“He’s a horse that is really happy, is in good form, and he’s racing very well. It’s great for the owners to see him going so well and I think he’ll just keep improving as time goes on.”

The Mighty Spar was purchased by David Ellis CNZM, from the draft of Waikato Stud, at the 2019 Karaka Book 1 Sale, and is owned by Te Akau 2019 Karaka Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

By Cox Plate (Gr. 1, 2040m) winning three-year-old and eight-time Champion Sire Savabeel (Zabeel), who proved himself one of the most versatile stallions in Australasia, The Mighty Spar has a lovely cross of immortal sire Northern Dancer on the dam side of Zabeel (Sir Tristram), the sire of Savabeel, and through the sire line of dam-sire O’Reilly (Last Tycoon).

The Mighty Spar, winner of eight races, was strapped by Emma Wilson. 


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