A winner fresh-up last season, Challa (Dissident – Are There Any emulated the feat with a strong front-running performance in the Te Akau 2019/20 No. 1 Stable Rating 65 (1200m) on Friday at Te Rapa.
Te Akau apprentice Joe Kamaruddin did a good job to register victory aboard Challa.
Intent on leading, Kamaruddin, who claimed four-kilos to 56kgs, was able to button off aboard Challa after being pressured early and came clear inside the 200m to score emphatically by two and a half lengths.
“It was a really nice win from a horse that has always shown plenty of natural ability,” trainer Jamie Richards said. “We probably didn’t ride him the way he preferred a couple of times last season when trying to get him to steady, but he’s quite happy being ridden in front.
“He trialled well with Joe (Kamaruddin) aboard earlier in September and a good win to keep his confidence improving as a young jockey. Claiming off 60-kilos made him very competitive in the race and he’s a horse that can work his way through the grades.
“A horse with a good ownership group, we were thinking of sending him to the South Island but decided to keep him up here because he takes a little bit of maintenance and we’ve got access to all the right tools at Matamata.
“I’m stoked for Joe. He’s such a well-liked member of the team and a happy young bloke. It was a great result all round.”
Stakes’ placed when recording three consecutive seconds as a two-year-old, Challa had won in similar fashion last November at New Plymouth, and trialled well since last racing with a win and two seconds, including second most recently on 15 September at Te Rapa.
Bred by Trelawney Stud, Challa was purchased by David Ellis for $100,000, from their New Zealand Bloodstock draft in 2018.
Challa is the first foal of Are There Any, an Exceed and Excel mare that won six races from 1300m to 2050m in Melbourne, while his grand-dam, Honest Politician (Distorted Humor), was also a very tough racehorse that won eight times (1600m – 2000m) in Australia.
“That was our 20thwin for the season and I saw Challa work at the track on Tuesday morning and Jamie told me that he could win today and as usual he’s spot on,” Ellis said.
“It was nice to win a race that Karyn and I sponsored and to get some of our sponsorship money back is always good.
“I was really pleased for Joe (Kamaruddin) to get his second win. He’s a very popular young man, riding very well and working hard. He rides a lot of track work and works very hard in the stable, and he’s going to get a lot more good opportunities.”
Challa is from the first crop of Australian Horse of the Year and Champion Sprinter, five-time Group 1 winner, Dissident (Sebring). Trained by Peter Moody, Dissident was known for his exceptionally tough qualities when winning from 1000 metres to 1600 metres. The mating also has a lovely cross of the greatest sire of stakes winners in the world, Danehill (Danzig). -Te Akau Racing