Sparks To Fly in 12th Karaka Million 2YOThursday, Jan 24, 2019
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.
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|