Sparks To Fly in 12th Karaka Million 2YO

2018 Karaka Million 2YO winner Avantage (Fastnet Rock).
2018 Karaka Million 2YO winner Avantage.

The stage is set for another spectacular Karaka Million 2YO (1200m), with a quality field assembled for the 12th edition at Ellerslie on Saturday.

Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards has won the race in the last two years with Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) and Avantage (Fastnet Rock). Twelve months ago he saddled five runners in the race, taking a stable quinella with Al Hasa (NZ) (Exceed and Excel) second.

History is set to repeat on Saturday with Richards again saddling five well-credentialled runners. The $380,000 Book 1 purchase Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel) takes top billing, having scored outstanding wins in her last two starts at Ellerslie. She is the pick of stable jockey Opie Bosson, who rode the last two Karaka Million winners.

Aotea Lad (NZ) (Savabeel) was a Group 2 winner on debut and Group 3 placed last start and will be ridden by champion Sydney-based New Zealand jockey James McDonald.

Louis Luck (Dissident) and Yourdeel (NZ) (Dundeel) have each scored impressive victories in recent weeks, while Challa (Dissident) was stakes-placed earlier in the season.

Cambridge trainer Tony Pike will be out to spoil the Te Akau party with his unbeaten runner Whiskey Neat (Denman). Not many horses can win by 10 lengths in an 800-metre race, but Whiskey Neat did exactly that under a tight hold from rider Leith Innes on debut at Otaki in November.

In his only other start, Whiskey Neat beat a number of his Karaka Million rivals with a strong front-running victory in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1200m). He has drawn ideally in gate two.

Fellow Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh, who won the race with Ruud Awakening (Bernardini) in 2013, has two runners this year. Exuberant (NZ) (Savabeel) won the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1000m) on debut, then placed in the Eclipse Stakes. Appellant (NZ) (Showcasing) placed in the Wellesley before winning a $50,000 race at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

Queensland trainer Liam Birchley has successfully raided the Karaka Million riches before, winning it with Sister Havana (NZ) (General Nediym) and Hardline (NZ) (Showcasing). He returns this year with Neptune’s Spear (NZ) (Super Easy), who has shown explosive speed in winning and placing in his two starts to date.

The 12th Karaka Million 2YO will be run as Race 4 on Saturday’s star-studded programme at Ellerslie, with a start time of 6.33pm.

1 Aotea Lad 12 2 g Savabeel - Corsage Jamie Richards Book 1 $200,000 Phoenix Park Mr DC Ellis $76,150
2 Whiskey Neat 2 2 g Denman - Ouija Tony Pike Book 1 $220,000 Koru Thoroughbreds Waikato Bloodstock $56,060
3 Neptune's Spear 11 2 c Super Easy - Hestolemyroses Liam Birchley Book 1 $140,000 Hallmark Stud Birchley Racing A$48,000
4 Exuberant 15 2 c Savabeel - Merrily Stephen Marsh Book 1 $160,000 Waikato Stud Go Racing $34,775
5 Yourdeel 13 2 g Dundeel - Miss Zapper Jamie Richards Book 1 $100,000 Little Avondale Stud Chris Rutten Bloodstock $23,100
6 Louis Luck 4 2 g Dissident - My Option Jamie Richards Book 1 $105,000 Little Avondale Stud Mr BJ Lindsay & Mrs JE Lindsay $18,750
7 Challa 5 2 g Dissident - Are There Any Jamie Richards Book 1 $100,000 Trelawney Stud Mr DC Ellis $18,225
8 Tappy's One 7 2 g Proisir - Tappy Lee Stephen McKee Book 2 $20,000 Rich Hill Stud Mr TJ McKee $17,185
9 Blackrocksdetox 3 2 g Rip Van Winkle - Dominique Bruce Wallace & Allan Peard Book 2 $26,000 Windsor Park Stud Wallace Thoroughbreds $9,750
10 Appellant 9 2 f Showcasing - Royal Appellant Stephen Marsh Book 3 $30,000 Haunui Farm French Connection Syndicate $36,750
11 Probabeel 16 2 f Savabeel - Far Fetched Jamie Richards Book 1 $380,000 Waikato Stud Mr DC Ellis $30,000
12 Beauty Diva 6 2 f Showcasing - Ketchme Clinton Isdale Book 3 $11,000 Long Acres Stud Isdale Racing $17,435
13 Aalaalune 10 2 f Reliable Man - Veva Girl Jacob McKay Book 1 $230,000 Westbury Stud Te Keeti Bloodstock/Richardson Racing $13,150
14 Flaunting 1 2 f Showcasing - Acapela David Greene Book 2 $40,000 Haunui Farm Greene Racing $12,250
15 Rainbow Dash 8 2 f Showcasing - Sarsourti Jenna Mahoney Book 3 $14,000 Cambria Park Mr SMC Murray $6,250
16 Qiji Swordsman 14 2 g Shamexpress - Flowing Nigel Tiley Book 2 $40,000 Mapperley Stud Qiji Bloodstock $4,500

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