Season Review: Fierce in Full Flight

Date: 14 Aug 2023

Season Review: Fierce in Full Flight


What a season 2022/23 was - every record broken by Mark Walker and the Te Akau team - most ever wins (203) in NZ racing history, most stakes ever won by a stable domestically ($8.25 million in New Zealand with almost $1 million in Australia), the highest number of starters by a stable (but with an amazing strike rate of 6.35 for a major stable).

Amongst the 33 domestic Group/Listed wins came Fierce Flights's Hawkes' Bay Cup win - truly living up to his name ...


Continuing a terrific stakes winning season for trainer Mark Walker, Fierce Flight (4 g Flying Artie – First Bloom, by Dylan Thomas) won the $100,000 Power Farming Hawkes Bay Cup (Listed, 2200m) on 15 April at Hastings.

After grey mare Aromatic (Sacred Falls) won the Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 3, 2000m) a day beforehand at Awapuni, Fierce Flight, who won his Maiden over 1600 metres at Hastings, recorded his fourth success for the season.

Fierce Flight was unlucky finishing second to subsequent Auckland Cup (Gr. 2, 3200m) placed Ladies Man (Zed) in the Nathans Memorial (2200 metres) on 4 March at Te Rapa, and had most recently produced a top run for second in the New Zealand St Leger (Listed, 2600m) on 18 March at Trentham.

Ridden by Champion Jockey Michael McNab, who appears on target to retain his title, Fierce Flight came out of midfield, hindered his chances by laying in for a few strides in the straight, but straightened and rallied to prevail in a three-way finish.



“He’s gone from a Rating 60 right through to winning the prestigious Hawkes Bay Cup this season, so a really good effort from the horse and a lovely ride by Michael McNab,” Walker said.

“He’s been a progressive horse that we managed to work out earlier in the season when we took the blinkers off him, and he’s just continued to improve.”

Purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $45,000 at the 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale, from the draft of Kilgravin Lodge, Fierce Flight is owned by Te Akau Out of Bounds Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn-Fenton Ellis).

“I’m really pleased with the way this horse has continued to develop,” Ellis said. “He’s shown great heart in his racing and proving a really good horse for his owners.

“Winning five races on a Saturday is always a massive thrill and especially adding the Hawkes Bay Cup which has been won by some very good horses over the years.

“We’ve had a great season with horses of all ages and over all distances. Obviously winning our seventh Karaka Million 2YO in a row is a real highlight, but Mark (Walker) won the Wellington Cup with Leaderboard, Brando won the Awapuni Gold Cup, Aromatic won the Counties Cup and Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes, Family Ties won the Oaks Prelude, Campionessa in the Metropolitan Handicap, and Group One mile winners Prise De Fer and Romancing The Moon, so it’s a very well-rounded performance and brilliant to be winning these races.”




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