Winning Journey to the Karaka Million 2YO & 3YO Classic

Melody Belle winning the Karaka Million 2YO 2017
Melody Belle (NZ) winning the Karaka Million 2YO 2017

The race to the richest meeting on the calendar has begun with a number of talented youngsters vying for a coveted start.

2018 is set to showcase the enhanced Series with the $1,000,000 Karaka Million 3YO Classic a new addition to the $1,000,000 Karaka Million 2YO. The two $1 million feature events will include a sensational support card of four Group races to be run at the Auckland Racing Club.

$1m Karaka Million 2YO

This will be the 11th edition for the hotly contested 2YO purse on the eve of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale Series at Karaka.

With the two-year-old order of entry determined by prizemoney won, both Avantage (Fastnet Rock) and Masque(NZ) (Savabeel) have made an early dash sitting equal on the leader board with earnings of $14,060.

Avantage was purchased by Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis for $210,000 from the draft of The Oaks Stud at the 2017 Premier Yearling Sale and is now owned by the Te Akau Avantage Syndicate.

Trained by the Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards duo, the Fastnet Rock filly earned $14,060 for her stylish debut win in the 2YO Stakes at Canterbury on 7 October.

Avantage has now been sent south to the Te Akau training base at Riccarton in preparation for the Listed Welcome Stakes next week.

“She has gone down there for a couple of races leading into the Welcome Stakes and we thought it was a great way of qualifying her for the Karaka Million,” Ellis said.

“She’s just got so much improvement in her, this filly, it’s remarkable.”

Smart juvenile Masque also made an impression on debut when he won the 2YO Handicap at Pukekohe on 24 September collecting $14,060 in prizemoney.

Offered at the 2017 Premier Yearling Sale on account of Waikato Stud, the colt was purchased by Team Rogerson for $200,000. He is now trained by Graham Rogerson who co-owns him with David and Elizabeth Olsen, Redbank Pty Ltd and Wealleans Bloodstock Partnership.

"He had trialled enormously and we think he is the next Savabeel," Rogerson commented.

"We will probably go to the Wellesley Stakes at Trentham and then on to the Karaka Million after that.”

View the full 2018 Karaka Million 2YO Order of Entry here.

$1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic

The three-year-old order of entry for the inaugural running of the new $1m 3YO Classic is determined by NZTR ratings, and 2017 Karaka Million 2YO winner Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) is sitting nicely at the top.

With four wins in the 2016-17 season, the Commands filly backed up her Karaka Million 2YO win with a victory in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes, followed by the Group 2 BRC Sires Produce Stakes for three consecutive wins.

Her performance earned her the respected title of Champion 2YO in NZ, and she currently holds a Rating of 85.

Melody Belle was purchased by Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis for $57,500 from Haunui Farm’s 2016 Premier Yearling Sale draft. Syndicated out to the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate, she is trained by Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards and has earned $826,220 in prizemoney to date.

“We originally purchased her with the expectation that she was the type of horse that would be competitive in the Karaka Million,” commented John Galvin who manages the Fortuna syndicates.

“And she went on to win the Karaka Million. She kicked on to win the Group 1 down in Manawatu and then went over to win the Group 2 in Brisbane which is never easy for New Zealand two-year-olds.”

With preparation for Melody Belle’s three-year-old campaign, John commented “I don’t think there are any trainers, owners, and syndicators out there that don’t think it’s a hell of a good idea to aim for both the Karaka Million age-group titles.”

Sully (NZ) (Reliable Man) is currently second on the leader board with a Rating of 80, and trained by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.

Timely updates were given to Dijon Bleu (NZ) (Burgundy) and Hard Merchandize (NZ) (Burgundy) when they respectively won the Group 3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes on 23 September and Group 2 Sacred Falls Hawke’s Bay Guineas on 7 October. They are now sitting third equal on a Rating of 77.

View the full 2018 Karaka Million 3YO Order of Entry here.

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