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Win 33 in Singapore

11 May 2013

Trainer Mark Walker extended his lead on the Singapore trainer’s premiership after he rang up his 33rd winner, Encosta Diablo on Friday night.

The five-time New Zealand champion trainer, who has yet to land the title in Singapore since relocating in 2010, has been in the driver’s seat since the end of January,  and has consistently been knocking in his fair share of winners to now sit clear of fellow Kiwi and reigning champion Laurie Laxon by six wins.

Interestingly, Walker has achieved his current record with 29 individual winners, a clear indication quality is spread far and wide among his big team of horses.

Encosta Diablo himself has not really set Kranji alight in 10 starts though he counts four wins in New Zealand, but seems to have finally turned the corner with his solid win under Manoel Nunes in the $55,000 Open Benchmark 67 race over 1600m on Polytrack.

Settled in mid-division in a one-off position, the Encosta De Lago five-year-old, made inroads from the 600m before producing the best finish on the outside to score with one length to spare from Ultimate Warrior, depriving the latter’s jockey Oscar Chavez of a race-to-race double, following his win aboard All My Way one race earlier.

Ultimate Warrior made an early mid-race move to sweep out three wide in a striking position at the home turn before hitting the front 300m out, but felt the pinch in the last bit to settle for second place.

Super Victory (Barend Vorster), who tried to make all, held on for third another length away. The winning time was 1min 38.73secs.

Walker said the Te Akau Racing Stable-owned gelding has been hampered by leg issues, which he hoped have now been rectified.

“He had a lot of feet trouble. That was why his form was bad,” he said.

“The farriers here are just first class. Paul Summers and Gary Morley have done a magic job with him. Without their expertise, it’s unlikely he would have even raced.

“I’ve lost count of the number of gear changes he’s had. Winkers, blinkers, tongue-tie, you name it.

“It would seem the blinker-pacifiers have done the job. It’s hard to say if he’s more of a Polytrack horse after tonight’s win as all his form has been on grass back home.

“Maybe the circumstances favoured him tonight. He seems to like a bit of distance, and I will probably back him up next Sunday in a Kranji Stakes C race over 1800m next Sunday.

“There is a group of 20 New Zealand owners who are part of the syndication who are coming. Hopefully they can have a big party for the big day.”

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