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Postman's Daughter wins the Group 2 Counties Cup for NZTBA member Don Walker

The recent group two DHL Counties Cup winner, Postman's Daughter (Postponed[USA] – Kinjabelle), was back in her paddock in Karaka a couple of hours after winning the event at nearby Pukekohe Park.

Inside her breeder/owner/trainer Don "Doc" Walker, was enjoying a couple of quiet drinks with his 'kids', somewhat overwhelmed by the fact that his lightly raced four-year-old mare had actually pulled off the race he had set her for.

Walker, a member of the Auckland Branch of the NZTBA, is only training one horse at the moment and credits a lot of her success not to his stockmanship or training methods, but to good luck.

"You have got to have luck in the game, and I am lucky she has good track manners. I am lucky she has a good temperament, and lucky she has good legs and constitution. – that all makes her so much easier to train," said the retired dairy farmer.

"She went really well for such a lightly raced mare and Danielle (Johnson) knows how to ride her well –it was a good ride."

Johnson has partnered the four-year-old mare to three of her four wins and rode her when she ran second in the group three Te Hana Stakes at Ellerslie on Melbourne Cup Day. Over the past few years this race has proved a good lead in to the group two DHL Counties Cup with both Gallions Reach and Boundless winning it prior to taking out the Counties Cup. Johnson also partnered the mare when she won a Te Rapa, the start before that only to have that win taken from her in the inquiry room.

Staying was always going to be her forte and Postman's Daughter won her maiden at her sixth start over 2100 metres at Counties in March of this year. She backed that up with wins over 2200 and 2100 at Auckland and Waikato respectively. Following a brief winter spell she raced fresh up at Waikato again over 1600 in the race that she lost in the inquiry room before stepping up to 2000 in the Te Hana Stakes and 2100 in the DHL Counties Cup at only her 13th start.

Her next race will be in the group two Waikato Times Gold Cup over 2400 followed by the group two City of Auckland Cup and the group two Wellington Cup over the same distance before at tilt at group one glory in the Auckland Cup.

"She has come through the race really well and I will continue along with my plans for the Auckland Cup at this stage and then look at Australia next spring," said Walker.

Postman's Daughter is the third foal of the Kinjite (Centaine[AUS]- Pilmuir) mare Kinjabelle, a half sister to the listed winner Tennessee Belle (Tights[USA]) and daughter of Sentimental Belle (by Balmerino ) out of the champion filly and matriarch Star Belle (Summertime[GB]-Bella Rosa).

"I bought Kinjabelle at Karaka as a yearling for about $3,000 and raced her myself. She won two races for me before I sent her to stud. She is back in foal again to Postponed, after having a couple of years off. Her first two foals weren't much good.

"After Postman's Daughter she had another filly by Captain Rio and she is called Paracetamol and is trained by Shane Udy. She is only at trialling stage, and I think she will be a bit of a wet weather horse.

"Postponed is nice and handy just up the road at Westbury and my other mares are in foal to their stallions as well. Besides the location they are great to deal with and have a wide range of stallions at a reasonable price. They get their fair share of winners.

"I keep the mares at home, then they pop up to Don McKinnon's place at the end of the road (Blackbridge Park) and foal there."

Walker has two other mares beside Kinjabelle, Lustrous Pearl (Star Way [GB]-Pearl Queen[AUS]) and Borntobewild (Shinko King – My City Girl).

Lustrous Pearl was raced by Walker and was placed. Her first foal Hezapearla (Kaapstad) has won one race for him and he has broken in her second foal Shezapearla (Fast'N'Famous [AUS]). He also owns and will race the two-year-old colt out of the mare by Postponed. Lustrous Pearl is in foal to Red Giant (USA).

Borntobewild is a full sister to Jacob who was a pretty quick two-year-old Walker raced a few years back. She has also gone to Red Giant. Their dam My City Girl (Herocity [AUS] – Crested Girl) won two races for Walker and was a half sister to Darth Vader (Prince of Praise).

"Darth Vader was my biggest winner prior to Postman's Daughter. I trained him at Takanini and he won seven races including a 2500 metre race at Flemington."

"When they closed Takanini I switched to Pukekohe Park, and since then I have 'retired' to Karaka, where I have a few acres for the horses."

Walker happened into horse racing by chance. A dairy farmer on the outskirts of Papakura, he was a regular at a well known local watering hole, and after a few whiskeys one night became a part owner of a racehorse.

"Robbie Burns who used to train at Takanini and had a half share in a horse he trained called Soul Dancer, found himself in a little financial strife so I bought half his half share. Soul Dancer was a reasonable miler and won seven races and I was hooked.

"That was in the mid 90's. After I sold my herd in 1998 I went to the sale and bought a few cheapies and started pottering around with them myself – My City Girl and DarthVader were amongst those cheapies.

"I'm in this game for the fun, it gives me something to do in my retirement other than fishing which I enjoy a couple of days a week when I can, and getting out of bed in the morning to work a horse is easy when she is as good as Postman's Daughter."


- Michelle Saba