Karaka a Proven Source of World-Class TalentMonday, Dec 9, 2019
Karaka 2020 will see buyers flock to New Zealand from all around the world, lured by a compelling record of graduate success.
New Zealand has proven to be a world-class nursery for young thoroughbred talent. Grown on nutrient-rich soils and in temperate climates, Kiwi-reared racehorses have repeatedly gone on to fly the flag with distinction throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Graduates of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sales Series have combined to win 50 Group One races in the last three seasons alone.
Seven of those have come from the superstar Beauty Generation (NZ) (Road to Rock), who is a two-time Hong Kong Horse of the Year and the world’s highest-rated miler.
Bought for just $60,000 from Highden Park’s draft at the 2014 Select Sale (now Book 2), he has won 18 of his 33 starts and an all-time Hong Kong record of HK$89.7 million (NZ$17.58 million), which is almost 300 times his purchase price.
Beauty Generation broke another Hong Kong record during the 2018-19 season with eight wins, four of them at Group One level. His overloaded trophy cabinet includes the last two editions of the world-renowned Group One Hong Kong Mile (1600m).
Karaka graduates have also performed starring roles during this year’s edition of the lucrative and prestigious spring racing in Australia.
One of Sydney’s standouts was Kolding (NZ) (Ocean Park), a $170,000 purchase from Wentwood Grange’s draft at the 2017 Premier Sale (Book 1).
The rising star four-year-old won the time-honoured Group One Epsom Handicap (1600m), then took out the inaugural running of the highly sought-after A$7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m).
Kolding has now won eight of his 15 starts and A$5.1 million in stakes – more than 30 times his purchase price.
Meanwhile in Melbourne, Miami Bound (NZ) (Reliable Man) provided another reminder of the stamina and class of staying three-year-olds sourced from New Zealand.
The $120,000 Book 1 purchase stormed to an emphatic three-length victory in the A$1 million Group One VRC Oaks (2500m) at Flemington.
She has earned A$887,750 in her seven-start career, which is already almost eight times her purchase price.
Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) was purchased for $57,500 at the 2016 Premier Sale, soaring to New Zealand racing supremacy. She has won 10 Group One races and almost $2 million in her homeland, and was crowned Horse of the Year for 2018-19.
Trainer Jamie Richards switched his focus across the Tasman this spring, and Melody Belle well and truly made her mark in Melbourne.
She stormed home from near-last for a brilliant victory in the A$1 million Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) on Victoria Derby day, then produced another massive finish a week later for a close second in the A$2 million Group One Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
Her career earnings have now gone beyond $3 million, which is 52 times her purchase price.
There have been many other Group One victories scored by Karaka graduates in Australia’s major spring and autumn carnivals. Brutal (NZ) (O’Reilly) won this year’s running of Sydney’s famous Doncaster Handicap (1600m), while others include Grunt(NZ) (O’Reilly) in the Australian Guineas (1600m) and Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), Mighty Boss (Not a Single Doubt) in the Caulfield Guineas (1600m), Aloisia(NZ) (Azamour) in the Thousand Guineas (1600m), and Bonneval (NZ) (Makfi) in the Australian Oaks (2400m) and Underwood Stakes (1800m).
But as well as the proven Group One stars, the Sale has also produced some enormously exciting up-and-comers.
Surprise Baby (NZ) (Shocking) fell short of his $20,000 reserve at the 2016 Select Sale, but has developed into one of Australia’s brightest staying prospects.
He has won five of his 11 starts and more than A$950,000, headed by victories in the Group Two Adelaide Cup (3200m) and Group Three Bart Cummings (2500m).
He also made a huge impression with his run in the 2019 Melbourne Cup (3200m), producing an enormous finish out wide from a near-impossible position for a close fifth. He crossed the line less than a length behind the winner, and the best is clearly yet to come.
Regency Legend (NZ) (Pins), who cost just $50,000 at the 2017 Premier Sale, has made a big impression in New Zealand and Hong Kong. With highly impressive performances and fast times, he has won six of his eight starts to date and is among Hong Kong’s brightest young sprinting talents.
The path from the Karaka sale ring to major Hong Kong sprinting success has been a well-trodden one in recent years, with Aerovelocity (NZ) (Pins) having won two editions of the Hong Kong Sprint (1200m), along with Group One victories for Mr Stunning (Exceed and Excel), D B Pin (NZ) (Darci Brahma) and Beat the Clock (Hinchinbrook).
Another exceptional catalogue of young thoroughbred talent is set to go under the hammer at Karaka in January 2020.
After an action-packed Karaka Million twilight race meeting at Ellerslie Racecourse on Saturday 25 January, the top-tier Book 1 session will kick off at 11am on Sunday 26 January and concludes at the end of Tuesday 28 January.
Book 2 will run from Wednesday 29 January to Friday 31 January.
In a change from previous years, Book 3 will take place on the afternoon of Friday 31 January, instead of Sunday 2 February. 115 yearlings will go under the hammer immediately after the conclusion of the Book 2 Sale, rounding off a terrific week of selling.
Adding further appeal to the bloodstock that will be on offer, all yearlings offered at Karaka 2020 are eligible for the lucrative Karaka Million Series. They will have the opportunity to race for $2 million with the $1 million Karaka Million 2YO in 2021 and the $1 million Karaka Million 3YO Classic in 2022.
KARAKA 2019 SCHEDULE
Karaka Million Twilight Meeting: Saturday 25 January
Book 1: Sunday 26 January – Tuesday 28 January
Book 2: Wednesday 29 January – Friday 31 January
Book 3: Friday 31 January