Challa Goes Back to Back at the Bay

Date: 18 Oct 2020

Challa Goes Back to Back at the Bay

A fresh-up winner at Te Rapa, Challa  (4 g Dissident - Are There Any, by Exceed and Excel) emulated the feat with another strong front-running performance in the $40,000 Mardigras Events Rating 74 1200 metres on Saturday at Hastings.

Combining again with four-kilo claiming Te Akau apprentice Joe Kamaruddin, Challa went straight to the lead, was well rated in front, and after pinching three lengths around the home turn never flinched over the concluding stages.

“It was a very good moment for me,” Kamaruddin said. “I was confident of winning and it was my first ride at Hastings. Thank you to my boss, David Ellis, and Jamie Richards.”

On Slow8 footing, Challa scored by a neck in 1:13.2 for the 1200 metres, returning $4.50 & $1.80 on the NZ TAB tote.

“He's got a lot of speed and suits the claim,” said trainer Jamie Richards. “Full marks to Joe, he did a great job and it's really satisfying to see a young member of the team who does so much hard work behind the scenes being rewarded.

“He's a horse that David (Ellis) bought. He ran in the Karaka Million, didn't have the greatest of three-year-old seasons but he's a bit stronger now and going well. He's taken the next step up which is never easy to do and he's earned a good bit of stake money for the owners too. 

“I've got a few of the family in the ownership, including my uncle Greg (McDonnell) who is here, so a very good day.”

Owned by Te Akau Challa Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM) and purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $100,000, from the draft of Trelawney Stud, at the New Zealand Bloodstock 2018 Karaka Book 1 Sale, Challa is the first foal of 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.

Stakes' placed when recording three consecutive seconds as a two-year-old, Challa has now won three times in similar fashion, off the front. 

On course for the celebrations, having travelled from Central Otago, the Twenty Fast Legs Syndicate is part of the overall ownership group.

“I would like to thank Te Akau, David and Karyn, Joe the jockey, and Jamie the trainer,” said Allan Small. “She's been a brilliant day and we've come up from Central Otago, just for the race. 

“Greg (McDonnell) started the syndicate and we've got shares in five horses with Te Akau. The whole tribe went up to Auckland to see him race in the Karaka Million, a couple of years ago. I was the last man included in the syndicate because they couldn't find a spokesman.

“Greg put out an email and said: C'mon, let's go and watch Challa because he's going alright, and also come and watch the Group 1 (won by Melody Belle). He's a magician. 

“We've got 12 friends, couples, in the syndicate,” said McDonnell, who is the brother of Leanne Richards - mother of Jamie - and lives in Alexandra.”

Challa is from the first crop of Australian Horse of the Year and Champion Sprinter, five-time Group 1 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 the greatest sire of stakes winners in the world, Danehill (Danzig).

Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM paid tribute to the Hawkes Bay Racing, saying: “I'd like to congratulate this great club on another fantastic carnival. It's a big thrill for Karyn and me to walk onto the course today and see the effort that's gone into providing facilities to give so much fun to everybody.

“Challa was well ridden by one of our apprentices, Joe Kamaruddin. He looked good in the saddle and will take a lot of confidence from the win. They do so much hard work for us these young jockeys, ride a lot of track work and they deserve every success. 

“Challa has a great group of owners. He was very unlucky not to break through as a two-year-old, but he's racing well and I can see him winning more races. Like so many of his family, he has tough attributes and that's an enormous help.”

Challa was strapped by Sam Bergerson.

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