A Spar-kling Hurdle Win

Date: 18 Jun 2023

A Spar-kling Hurdle Win

The Mighty Spar (5 g Savabeel - O'Dianne, by O'Reilly) started the day with a bang for trainer Mark Walker when winning the $30,000 SVS Starting Gates Maiden Hurdle (2800m) on Saturday at Te Rapa.


Walker recorded a double with Redsheis (Burgundy) and Stonybreck (Tavistock) a day beforehand at Awapuni, and The Mighty Spar became his 191st win in a record-breaking season.

A winner of four races to 2000 metres on the flat, The Mighty Spar was a course/distance runner-up at his hurdling debut last September, made up a stack of ground for second in the 0-1 Win Hurdle (2500m) on 5 June at Hastings, and broke through at his third attempt.

Ridden by Champion Jumps' Jockey Aaron Kuru, recording his fourth win in the race, The Mighty Spar advanced to third at the 600m, cruised into contention rounding the home turn and apart from an ordinary jump at the last he parcelled the race up nicely.

“He's a good quality horse and he jumped super,” Kuru said. “He got the last one wrong, but we didn't want to do anything special and he had it in the bag by that stage so it was just a matter of getting over it.

“He got a lovely run throughout the whole race and there were two in front going hard enough to suit him. Once he got to the front he buttoned off and he's better on the chase.”

While commenting on his charge, Walker also unveiled some lofty plans for the promising staying type and jumper.

“He's been well schooled for a couple of seasons and he's a horse that could really suit jumping in Australia, because he's got the flat speed.” he said.

“He's a very natural jumper and we could plan a trip for the three-day carnival at Warrnambool in April/May next year, and I've half-pie got the Jericho Cup in my mind for him.”

Also at Warrnambool, the $304,000 Jericho Cup is a flat race over 4600 metres run on 3rd December, on the fourth Sunday after the Melbourne Cup.

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), sire of Savabeel, and through the sire line of dam-sire O'Reilly (Last Tycoon).

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

In attendance to collect the spoils, part-owner and Waikato Racing Club director Gilbert Southworth said: “Our chairman, John Elstob, also has a share in the horse and currently in the UK. 

“It's the first hurdle winner I've been involved in, so to win on my home track is quite special. I was absolutely nervous watching the race, but it's one of our great traditions in horse racing and there's a great crowd here today, including farmers and hunts people.”

The Mighty Spar was strapped by Olivia Hill. 


Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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