Leading trainer Mark Walker enjoyed another strong day on Saturday as he marches towards the record for wins in a season.
Predecessor Jamie Richards currently holds that title with 160 wins in the 2020/21 season but with a Tauranga treble and a Trentham Group One win, Walker has rocketed to 149 wins for the season and with more than four months of the season to go is sure to set a new mark.
The Te Akau head trainer saddled first and second in the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m), with Romancing The Moon getting off the canvas to defeat stablemate Skew Wiff, who had looked the winner.
“Romancing The Moon goes to the paddock after her Group One win,” Walker said.
“Skew Wiff will go to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (Gr.1, 1600m) on April 8 at Pukekohe.”
Walker was happy to again try Skew Wiff, a daughter of Savabeel and 1200m black-type winner Starvoia, over a mile.
“She ran second to Legarto in the Eight Carat (Gr.2, 1600m) and she ran second yesterday, and she still had the others well covered,” he said.
A decision as to whether Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) runner-up Mehzebeen carries on will be made after trot ups on Monday.
Walker was at Tauranga on Saturday where he saddled the opening three winners — Inca Belle, Merlotti and Aotea Lad.
“Inca Belle has won three out of three now. She is most likely heading towards the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (Gr.3, 1200m),” Walker said.
Walker, who has 29 Group and Listed wins to his name domestically this season and nearly $7 million in prizemoney, travels to Melbourne on Thursday.
He will saddle Imperatriz in the Gr.1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) on Friday night at The Valley and Campionessa in the A$3 million Gr.1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Closer to home Prise de Fer, Perfect Scenario and Brando will represent the stable in Saturday’s Gr.2 Ultimate Mazda Japan Trophy (1600m).