Walker Closing in on History Making Win

Date: 6 Jul 2023

Walker Closing in on History Making Win


NZ Racing News reports:


Mark Walker is refusing to get complacent as he closes in on an historic first 200-win season.

The Matamata trainer goes into Friday racing at Awapuni on 194 wins for the 2022-23 calendar, needing just six further victories to become the first trainer to win 200 races in a New Zealand season.

“July can be a tough month so I wouldn't say it's a formality. If it happens, it happens. A lot will depend on how we go tomorrow (Friday), I'd say,” Walker said.

“We've got horses that are suited to poly racing and racing at this time of the year.”

Walker has already enjoyed a memorable first full season back training in New Zealand, claiming his 1000th New Zealand winner and eclipsing Jamie Richards' previous season record of 160 wins in a season as he rolls on toward his sixth national trainers' title to go with his four titles in Singapore.

Walker will produce as many as 11 runners at the all-weather track meeting at Awapuni, having enjoyed success at the last meeting on the surface.

“Some of the distances at Awapuni suit better for us than some of the distances at Cambridge. We've got a few chances there,” Walker said.

“You've just got to have a rider aware of the speed of the races. It's all tempo related. It was the same with polytrack racing in Singapore.”

Among Walker's winners at the last Awapuni polytrack meeting was Stonybreck, who claimed his third win from eight starts in a 1200m Rating 75 race under stable apprentice Niranjan Parmar, and will back-up on Friday in the Martin Collins NZ 1400.

“He handles the poly surface. He won at Cambridge early in the season and he won last start really well,” Walker said.

“It's always hard for three-year-olds in (Rating) 75 grade but that's where he is now. We're pleased with him.

“He drew the inside last time and it was a good ride of Parmar's in that when they slackened the speed, he popped off the fence at the right time and got up around them before they knew it. The 1400m won't be any worries, I don't think.”

Walker's other runners at Awapuni are Al Malik, Taviarma, Ragamuffin, Redsheis, French Rose, Pokuru Show, Primo Vino, Star In The Sky, Treaty Of Paris and Navalha.

He will also be represented by Popthebubbles at the Awapuni turf meeting on Saturday and Freeze Frame, Bak Da Master, Prefer To Play and Kai at Te Rapa the same day.

Walker has only just returned from Australia, where he will head Te Akau Racing's new Cranbourne stable next season.

Te Akau Racing will have 20 boxes in operation at its new Victorian base from September 1, a roundtable with Te Akau bosses David Ellis and Karyn Fenton-Ellis set to finalise the makeup of the initial team to race from the new quarters.

“I'll go out to the farm next week and have a chat to Dave and Karyn and work out what horses we'll take over initially,” Walker said.


Sign up to our newsletter