Awapuni Winning Quartet - Season Win 200!! A NZ Record!!

Date: 28 Jul 2023

Awapuni Winning Quartet - Season Win 200!! A NZ Record!!

Capping a phenomenal season of highlights and records for trainer Mark Walker and Te Akau Racing, Angels Wings (3 f Heroic Valour - Gowana, by More Than Ready) became the 200th winner this season with victory in the $14,000 Rating 65 1200 metres on 27 July at Awapuni (poly-track).

A deserved Maiden winner three starts ago on the poly-track at Cambridge, Angel Wings was given time (29 days) since racing wide in the Pearl Series Rating 65 1300 metres on 28 June at Cambridge, and rated a top three chance from barrier three.

With Michael McNab aboard, who won earlier on the programme aboard stable-mate Redsheis (Burgundy), Angel Wings secured a lovely spot behind the leaders and once again McNab was pinpoint accurate to claim a last stride victory.

“It's never been done before, down towards the line, a bobber, but I reckon Mark Walker's got 200 for the season,” said commentator Tony Lee. “What a brilliant effort, quite an incredible feat, this will be around for a long, long time.”

In the race sponsored by Aberdeen on Broadway, Angel Wings ran 1200 metres in 1:09.7 and paid $5.20 & $1.90 on the NZ TAB tote. 

“It was a really good win and another lovely ride of Michael's,” Walker said. “She's only going to get a bit bigger and stronger next season.

“It's great to get that milestone of 200 wins in a season today, and to get another win for Fortuna Racing.

“John and Jessica Galvin, who own the business, are very good friends of everyone at Te Akau and it is thrilling to get the 200th with one of their horses.”

While preparing for her three-year-old season, Angel Wings caught the attention of new season's Assistant Trainer Nicole Shailer as having potential, which she has certainly shown in winning two of her last three starts.

Angel Wings was purchased by David Ellis CNZM and Andrew Williams Bloodstock for $100,000, from the draft of KBL Thoroughbreds, at the 2021 Gold Coast National Yearling Sale, and is of special significance being by Heroic Valour.

Heroic Valour was also purchased by David Ellis CNZM and was trained by Te Akau to become his sire Fastnet Rock's first group 1 winning two year old, anywhere in the world.  He now stands at Raheen Stud at Queensland, one of seven Te Akau selected and trained colts now standing at stud across Australasia. She is owned by Fortuna Angels Wings Syndicate (Mgr: John Galvin).

“Angel Wings had a bit to do with a couple of hundred metres to go, but Michael (McNab) is riding in superb form and he just gets the best out of them in the closing stages. He doesn't give up,” said Galvin, while holidaying with wife Jessica in Kuala Lumpur.  

“We've had a few milestone wins with Te Akau and it was great to get such a significant win,” 

“A Fortuna horse was Mark's first winner in Singapore, Jamie's (Richards) first Group win as a solo trainer was Melody Belle in the Foxbridge Plate and his last win in New Zealand as Te Akau trainer was Ragamuffin, while his first Hong Kong winner was a former Fortuna horse - all selected by David Ellis CNZM.

“Mark started training his first horses for me in 2002, which was the Group Two winner Kapsdan and Comical Ali, so it's been a 21-year association.

“With David (Ellis) as well, we've had a great working relationship. We've had many winners in New Zealand before Mark went to Singapore; horses like Kapsdan, Darci Brahma, Tell A Tale, and had about 80-90 winners when he went to Singapore.

“Now we're going well back in New Zealand, while also looking forward to the opportunities that present in the new Te Akau stable at Cranbourne in Melbourne.”

It has been a remarkable comeback to New Zealand racing for Mark Walker. He won five training premierships for Te Akau before establishing Te Akau Singapore in 2011 at Kranji Racecourse in Singapore, where he added another four Champion Trainer titles, including the record (87) in 2017. 

Resuming as Te Akau New Zealand trainer in April 2022, he set a national record for wins in a season when Fellini (Belardo) won in April at Pukekohe, to surpass the domestic record (160) set previously by Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards in 2020/21; achieved his 100th domestic stakes success when Aromatic (Sacred Falls) won the Counties Cup (Gr. 2, 2100m) last November, and notched the fastest 100 when Pure Imagination (Darci Brahma) won on 13 January at Tauranga.

Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM said: “Karyn and I are very proud to have achieved this milestone and have to thank Mark Walker and all the team, here at the farm, and at the stables in Matamata, for all their hard work and passion for every task they do. We have a magical team of mostly young people which bodes so well for the industry's future, and both karyn and I take a huge interest in their careers and love to encourage them.

“When I won my first race in 1978, if you'd said to me that we'd have 202 wins during a season in the future I would have thought you were on something.

“It's an unbelievable thrill and the team that we've got - horses and people - is just incredible. Each stable has its own foreman and assistant foreman, who all communicate so well with Mark, Sam (Bergerson) and Reece (Trumper), and they're all just very professional in their attitude to what they do.

“The four winners today: Redsheis, Angel Wings, Treaty of Paris, Star In The Sky, were sourced by me from different sources, with one bred at Te Akau, one bought at Karaka, and two from the Magic Millions sale.

“They were all beautifully ridden by Michael McNab, who is riding in outstanding form and deserves his place at the top of the Jockeys' Premiership, and it's a thrill to be associated with such a great team.”

Angel Wings was strapped by Kendyll Lee. 


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