Apprentice Power Aboard the Bay

Date: 23 Jun 2024

Apprentice Power Aboard the Bay

Recording his fourth victory, Malborough Bay (4 g Darci Brahma – Spin ‘N Grin, by Spinning World) took out the $35,000 Rating 75 1400 metres on Saturday at Tauranga.

A winner three starts ago over 1400 metres at Te Rapa, Malborough Bay had continued to race solidly and ran the fastest last 600m (37.5) from a handy position for third in the Rating 75 1600 metres on 6 June at New Plymouth.

Ridden by Te Akau apprentice Jess Allen (a3), who was keen to utilise barrier one and lead, Malborough Bay was softened up for a majority of the race, but appeared to travel better than those around him turning home and proved quite dominant in the finish to win by three-quarters of a length. 

In winning The Freeman Ultimate Champion Cup, Malborough Bay ran 1400 metres in 1:26.9, last 600m in 37.3 (approx.), and paid $5.20 & $1.70 on the NZ TAB tote. 

“Full credit to Jess (Allen) because the way she rode him had a lot to do with winning the race,” said Mark Walker, who trains with Sam Bergerson.

“She was positive and having worked hard on her fitness she was able to keep the horses going strongly. 

“Jess’s riding has gone to another level over the past three months. She knew she had to get stronger in riding out a finish and her improvement has been substantial. 

“She can now pull the stick through and has the ability to use it in her left hand. So her effort and sheer determination is paying dividends, and she’s a valuable asset to the stable with her three-kilo claim.

“Malborough Bay has been doing a ton of schooling over fences and actually shows great promise over the hurdles.

“He’s been a pretty good horse for the owners, who have been patient, since winning first-up as a two-year-old. 

“His form flattened out for awhile when he wasn’t physically strong enough to go to the next level, but he’s improving with age and full credit to John Galvin (Fortuna Racing) because he’s always patient with his horses and never pushes them unnecessarily. 

“John never gets despondent, understands the ebbs and flows of racing, and with his wife Jess and their owners it’s always a pleasure to train for them.”  

Bred by Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM and Glenn & Catherine Holmes, Malborough Bay is owned by Fortuna Racing Syndications (Mgr: John Galvin).

Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM bought his dam, Spin ‘N Grin (Spinning World), for $65,000 at the 2003 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale, and a very good filly trained by Mark Walker she won the Eight Carat Classic (Gr. 2, 1600m) at only her fourth start, finished third a week later in the Royal Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m), and unlucky when second at her seventh start in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600m).

Spin ‘N Grin has now left six individual winners of 21 races, including Group One and dual Group Three placed Burgundy Belle (Burgundy Belle), Group One and Group Three placed Éclair Lightning (Darci Brahma), along with additional Fortuna Racing owned horses Major Tom (Darci Brahma) and Jack’s Secret (Sakhee’s Secret) who each won three races when trained by Mark Walker in Singapore.

“Steve Freeman was the sponsor, it’s his 70th birthday and interestingly enough he has a few shares in horses with us, although not Malborough Bay, so I’m holding the Freeman Cup,” said Galvin, from the course.

“I think it was the right race for him because he’s struggled a little bit in Rating 75 grade on Saturday’s, but we made the decision to come to this race and as it turned out, with a smaller field and the barrier draw (1), the plan was to be positive. 

“We claimed three-kilos down to 54kg with Jess (Allen) aboard and she gave him a lovely ride. She didn’t let up on him in the run home and she executed the instructions to perfection.

“Mark and Sam started to school him about three months and I think it’s improved him not only physically but mentally as well. He’s stronger and more resolute in his racing.”

The win by Malborough Bay was the 161st this season for Walker and Bergerson and is somewhat of a milestone in Te Akau racing history as former trainer Jamie Richards, now training in Hong Kong, set a new record of 160 wins in 2020/21, which was subsequently surpassed by Mark Walker last season with a tally of 203 domestic victories.

Whichever way you look at it, it reflects another fantastic season for everyone involved with the stable and a special moment for Sam Bergerson in his first season of training. 

Among the victories came 21 stakes wins, to make 30 with the nine Walker has prepared from the Te Akau base at Cranbourne, while 59 of the 161 wins, to date, have been recorded in the South Island from the Te Akau stable at Riccarton.

Malborough Bay was strapped by Ahbi Pawar.

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