Te Akau's Mark Walker - Champion Trainer Finalist

Date: 8 Aug 2023

Te Akau's Mark Walker - Champion Trainer Finalist

 

Premiership winner Mark Walker, who heads Te Akau Racing, and Lisa Latta, who finished third equal in the Premiership, are joined by Ken and Bev Kelso, who were 84th on the Trainers’ table. 

 

The Trainer of the Year finalists accounted for half of the 20 Group 1 races run in New Zealand, with two more elite wins in Australia.

Walker, who won five Group 1 races and 34 black type races in total, broke most domestic training records in the 2022-23 season. His 203 wins meant he became the first to top 200 in a season, beating the previous record by 43, and finishing 103 wins ahead of his nearest rival.

His stake earnings of $8.25m were also a New Zealand record and combined with the Australian earnings brought the overall figure to more than $9 million. With a huge stable – 1290 domestic runners is another record – Walker still delivered a winning strike rate of 6.35.

The Kelsos, who have been training together at Matamata for more than 40 years, had only 10 individual runners in the 2022-23 season, just five of whom raced more than once. There were three individual winners, who contributed eight wins.

Lisa Latta is a past Premiership winner, when she had a significantly larger team, but it was quality rather than quantity which kept the Awapuni trainer in the limelight in the 2022-23 term. Her tally of 10 black type winners was the next best after Walker and included three individual Group 1 winners – He’s A Doozy, Pignan and Belclare – and the Group 2 Auckland Cup winner Platinum Invador.

There were also four Group 3 wins which helped push Latta’s stake earnings to a personal best of $2.5 million.

 

Premiership winner Michael McNab is joined by Opie Bosson and Ryan Elliot as finalists for Jockey of the Year – sponsored by TAB.

McNab’s 164 wins gave him a winning margin of 47 and he also became the first rider to top $4 million in domestic earnings in a season, extending the record tally to $4.79m. He maintained an impressive strike rate and, along with Bosson, had 18 black type wins during the season, including McNab’s first stakes' win in Australia.

Bosson finished third on the Premiership and his good record in feature races was backed up by having the best strike rate of any flat rider in the top 50.

Elliot finished 14th on the Premiership but had a remarkable record in Group 1 races. The 24-year-old, who went into the season with a career tally of three wins at Group 1 level, was the leading Group 1 rider, with six wins and five placings from 18 attempts.

His elite wins included three of the four Group 1 classic races – New Zealand Derby, New Zealand Oaks, and New Zealand 2000 Guineas – and he finished third in the 1000 Guineas. Elliot also won the Auckland Cup, which had been a Group 1 race until 2021. His tally of feature wins meant he finished third on the Jockeys’ table in terms of Group and Listed races and fourth in stake earnings.

The People and Jumps racing Finalists are set to be presented at the 2022-23 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards held on Sunday 10 September.

 

The finalists for the People and Jumps racing categories are:

 

Champion Jumper:
Happy Star, Suliman, The Cossack, West Coast.

Trainer of the Year – sponsored by Dunstan:
Mark Walker, Lisa Latta, Ken and Bev Kelso.

Jockey of the Year – sponsored by TAB:
Michael McNab, Opie Bosson, Ryan Elliot.

Jumps Jockey of the Year – sponsored by Happy Hire:
Shaun Fannin, Shaun Phelan.

Owner of the Year – sponsored by TAB NZ:
Barneswood Farm, Catherine & Phillip Brown, Clearview Park, Gerry Harvey, JML Bloodstock, Brendan & Jo Lindsay, Kevin Myers, The Oaks Stud, Dean Skipper, Allan & Marie Tyler, Waikato Stud.

Jockeys’ Premiership Winner:
Michael McNab

Trainers’ Premiership Winner:
Mark Walker

Owners’ Premiership Winner:
Brendan & Jo Lindsay

Apprentice Jockeys’ Premiership Winner:
Tayla Mitchell

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