Te Akau Jumping into Winter

Date: 2 May 2023

Te Akau Jumping into Winter

 

Michael Guerin, NZ Herald reports:

 

New Zealand's premier racing stable sees today as one of the last big meetings of the season, but that won't stop them attacking a new and unexpected challenge next week.


Trainer Mark Walker has already set a New Zealand record for domestic wins in a season as well as stakes earned, going into this weekend with 171 wins and more than $7.7 million earned this term.


The racing season has three months to go so Walker looks set to crack 180 wins but says many of the stable's better-performed horses racing today will head to the spelling paddock this week.


“Horses such as Aromatic (R7, No1) and the three-year-olds in the Breeders Stakes will have a break and I'd say we would have a lot less numbers racing over the winter,” says Walker.



But Walker, trainer for Te Akau, revealed he will attack the winter racing with up to 10 jumpers.


“Both myself and David and Karyn [Ellis, Te Akau principals] are keen to support jumps racing as we want it to continue on and get stronger in New Zealand,” Walker told the Weekend Herald.


 

 

“It is an important sector of the industry and important for retaining skilled staff so we are going to be racing jumpers starting at Te Rapa next Saturday.


“We have around 10 for this winter and while it isn't new for us to have jumpers, we are going to have bigger numbers than before.”


Te Rapa won't be the place for jumpers today (Saturday) though with good footing likely for the black-type races, the $120,000 Travis Stakes and $80,000 Breeders Stakes, in which Walker has a huge hand.


Aromatic won a similar race to the Travis at Awapuni last start even though her trainer was concerned by the good track that day.


“She handled it great, which surprised us as we have always thought she needed give in the ground,” he says. “She is older and sounder she is coping with the better tracks.”


Aromatic is beautifully placed under today's weight-for-age conditions, and would appear to have most of her mare rivals covered, but it is filly Sakura Girl that Walker is worried about.


“She was very good winning here two starts ago and can run handy and has the weight and the draw so she is the one we all have to beat.”

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