Walker ends season on winning note

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  • July 31, 2023
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Mark Walker put a winning seal on a stellar season when taking out the last race of the card at Te Rapa on Saturday with Hero Worship.

The victory brought Walker’s season tally to 203 wins, 63 ahead of the previous best mark held by former Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards.

Walker made history when becoming the first New Zealand trainer to record 200 domestic wins in a season when Angels Wings scored at Awapuni on Thursday, and he was rapt to round out the season in winning fashion.

“It was such a good win in the last (race of the season),” Walker said.

“He’s such a competitive horse that has been in work all season, but it just shows that the systems we have in place are working.

“I think a big help this season was to get in the Dunstan Feeds nutritionist and working out the feeding regimes and nutritional intake for all the horses.

“It’s meant we’ve been able to give horses more runs than we have in the past because they’ve held their condition and kept performing at a level that enabled them to stay in work longer.”

Te Akau principal David Ellis was proud of Walker’s achievements, and he was pleased to note that his two key winners this week, Angels Wings and Hero Worship, were sired by Te Akau predecessors Xtravagant and Heroic Valour.

“It was interesting that the sire of our 200th winner was by Heroic Valour and the final winner was by Xtravagant, both Group One winners that we bought and trained and now stand in Australia,” Ellis said.

“We’ve bred to these stallions and bought their progeny at sales, so to have them in the pedigree of these two winners of milestone races is quite significant and a big thrill.

“It’s an incredible way to finish the season. The horses were looked after today by Ashley Handley and Sam Bergerson, two of the very best in the business and the next runner Te Akau has in the new season will have Sam’s name in the book as training partner.

“I’m so proud of the entire staff, at the farm and at the stables. It’s a dream come true.

“When I first started Te Akau Racing, if somebody had said we’d finish up having 203 wins in a season you just wouldn’t have dreamt it was possible.

“It’s been a brilliant day and great way to end the season, and we look forward to keeping it going.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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