Double Century Within Reach

Date: 21 Jul 2023

Double Century Within Reach


Richard Edmunds, Race Form reports:


Te Akau's head trainer Mark Walker is within sight of an extraordinary and unprecedented milestone, and in-form mare Millefiori has a chance to take him one step closer in Saturday's Mills Reef Winery Open Handicap at Tauranga.

Millefiori is backing up from Ruakaka last Saturday, where she won the Sprinters' Winter Championship Final to give Walker his 196th win in New Zealand this season.

That tally is by far and away the highest in the history of New Zealand thoroughbred racing, with the previous record of 160 belonging to Walker's Te Akau predecessor Jamie Richards.

“We still need four wins to get to 200, so it's easier said than done,” Walker told RaceForm on Tuesday. “But it would be a very special achievement for the whole team if we could get there.”

Once a bright two-year-old talent who won both of her first two starts, Millefiori has found top form again in her four-year-old season. The daughter of Iffraaj has been a four-time winner since January, capped by her tough front-running performance in the $60,000 feature at Ruakaka last weekend.

“I thought that was a very good win, and I've been particularly pleased with the way she's come through that race and the big trip up north and back,” Walker said. “She really hasn't missed a beat at all.

“We were considering running her in the Opunake Cup this weekend, but she has such a good record at Tauranga (three wins from four starts) and it's a lot closer to home, so we thought this would be the better option for now.

“Jess Allen rode her beautifully at Ruakaka, and we'll put her on again for this race and claim that weight off again.”

Stakes races are likely to be on Millefiori's agenda next season, with potential targets including the Gr. 3 Canterbury Breeders' Stakes during the New Zealand Cup Carnival at Riccarton in November.

“After a quick freshen-up, there's a possibility that she could end up in our Riccarton team in the spring,” Walker aid. “The aim is going to be to try to pick up some black type, so we'll be looking to place her the best we can to achieve that.”


Sign up to our newsletter