The Mighty One Defends his Crown

Date: 14 Mar 2024

The Mighty One Defends his Crown

The Mighty Spar (6 g Savabeel – O’Dianne, by O’Reilly) defended his title in the $35,000 South Waikato Cup (Rating 81, 2000m) on 13 March at Matamata.

After making ground belatedly from last to finish sixth when resuming in the Rating 75 1600 metres on 28 February at Hastings, The Mighty Spar appreciated stepping in distance and continued his good association with Te Akau apprentice Jess Allen (a3).

Allen, who was also aboard at Hastings, found a beautiful spot fourth on the outer, travelled sweetly approaching the home turn and quickened appreciably mid-straight to hold at bay Group Three winner Arby (Proisir) and Listed winning race favourite Snazzytavi (Tavistock).

“He jumped well today and we were able to get a good run,” Allen said. “It was a really good effort to hold those horses off and it was a pretty strong field.”

Despite coming from last to beat a small but select field in the corresponding race last year, boastings very good course/distance credentials, and having weight relief to 55.5kg, The Mighty Spar was a drifter in betting from an earlier fixed odds quote of $14.00 & $3.60 to pay $29.00 & $4.10 on the NZ TAB tote.

“It was great to see him win the South Waikato Cup two years in a row and a lovely ride by Jess to get him into the perfect spot,” said Mark Walker, who trains in partnership with Sam Bergerson.

“She pinched a break to gain the winning margin and rode a perfect race. I think Jess will really come into her own over the next few months, especially with the three-kilo claim.

“He’s a bit of a marvel The Mighty Spar, winning five races on the flat and one over hurdles, and we’ll decide whether we keep him on the flat or go back over jumps.”

On footing upgraded to Good4, in the race sponsored by Holster Engineering / Lally And Symes, The Mighty Spar ran 2000 metres in 2:03.0 and last 600m in 36 (approx.).

He was purchased by David Ellis CNZM, from the draft of Waikato Stud, at the 2019 Karaka Book 1 Sale, and owned by Te Akau 2019 Karaka Breeding Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

By Cox Plate (Gr. 1, 2040m) winning three-year-old and eight-time Champion Sire Savabeel (Zabeel), who proved himself one of the most versatile stallions in Australasia, The Mighty Spar has a lovely cross of immortal sire Northern Dancer on the dam side of Zabeel (Sir Tristram), the sire of Savabeel, and through the sire line of dam-sire O’Reilly (Last Tycoon).

“He’s come back to racing in great fettle and I’m thrilled for the owners to win this race again, which had a pretty good midweek stake,” Ellis said.

“They way he hit the line fresh-up over a mile at Hastings suggested that he was in the right shape to go 2000 metres second-up, and it’s a really good training performance by Mark and Sam to have the horse spot on.

“We’ve won the cup a few times over the years at the South Waikato Racing Club meeting, and I’d like to thank them again for their continued support of the racing industry. 

“They’ve always had people involved that are very passionate about the racing industry.”

Collecting the cup on behalf of owners, Sam Bergerson said: “Thank you to the sponsors and the South Waikato Racing Club, it’s awesome to win this race for the second time with The Mighty Spar.

“He’s a horse that races particularly well on his home track and I’d like to thank all the staff for how hard they work and in particular Jess (Allen) who rides him in a lot of his work. She really did give him a great ride.”

The Mighty Spar was strapped by Rasheed Alam. 

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