Mark Walker prepared three winners of the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) in his first stint as head trainer for Te Akau’s Matamata barn and holds pole position to add to his classic tally.
His top seed Dynastic is the clear $4 pre-post favourite for the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai-sponsored feature at Riccarton on November 5 and will tighten his grip with another successful outing at Hastings on Saturday.
Dynastic will be heavily favoured to claim top honours in the Gr.2 AHD Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) following his resuming victory in the Listed El Roca – Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) on the opening day of the carnival.
Almanzor’s son struck a heavy track for the first time in his brief career three weeks ago and Walker admitted he feared the worst in the straight before the colt’s quality prevailed.
“He looked down and out at the 200m and I thought he was going to get beaten and then he drew away the last 100m and ended up winning quite convincingly,” he said.
“He’s a Karaka Million winner so we know he is a class horse and there was just a question mark on the ground.
“He came through the race really well, but he is going to get another wet track to deal with this weekend.”
Dynastic’s main aim is the 2000 Guineas, previously won by Walker with King’s Chapel (2003), Darci Brahma (2005) and Tell A Tale (2008).
He subsequently left for a hugely successful spell in Singapore, during which time Te Akau also won the feature with the Jason Bridgman-trained Rock ‘N’ Pop (2011) before Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards struck gold with Xtravagant (2015) and Embellish (2017).
The now Hong Kong-based Richards was in sole charge of the training operation when he sent out last year’s winner Noverre.
While it is premature for Dynastic to be rated alongside former star Te Akau three-year-olds, he is quickly climbing the ladder.
“He’s making his way to that stage, he’s not there yet, but he is making his way right up there,” Walker said.
Dynastic will have a wide gate to contend with at Hastings on Saturday, but that is the least of Walker’s concerns.
“When you’ve got Opie (Bosson) on there’s not too many sticky draws to be honest, he’s riding in great form,” he said.
Safely through Saturday, Dynastic will have his final 2000 Guineas lead-up in the Gr.2 James & Annie Sarten Memorial (1400m) at Te Rapa on October 22.
Stablemate Accidental Tourist will also take his place in Saturday’s Hastings age group feature following the Telperion gelding’s last-start third in the Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m).
“He’s an honest sort of horse and deserves to be in the field, he’s in the mix for sure,” Walker said.