About Last Night (NZ) Joins Stablemate at Top of TAB Karaka Millions 2YO Standings
3 October 2023
At the end of the first month of two-year-old racing in New Zealand this season, the stable that has produced all of the last seven $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) winners is once again in pole position.
There are two fillies tied at the top of the order of entry, and both are trained by Te Akau Racing’s Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson.
Bellatrix Star (Star Witness) was the first to lodge her claim, winning the season-opening juvenile race at Wanganui on September 2 for Fortuna Syndications. Three weeks later at Tauranga, it was over to About Last Night (NZ) (Capitalist).
A four-length winner of her only trial at Avondale on August 15, About Last Night was a hot favourite for her raceday debut in the $25,000 Gartshore Construction Maiden 2YO (950m) on September 23.
She lived right up to expectations, sitting in second spot before cruising to the front in the straight and romping home by two and three-quarter lengths.
“She did it easily and it was nothing more than a track gallop,” jockey Warren Kennedy said.
Walker was not surprised to see About Last Night win so impressively.
“She’d trialled up well and she’s very professional,” he said. “With that debut win under her belt, she can have a little holiday now and our main focus will be the Karaka Million in January. She’s got a great turn of foot.”
About Last Night was a $75,000 purchase from Book 1 of Karaka 2023 by David Ellis, who also purchased all of the last seven Karaka Millions 2YO winners – Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands), Avantage (Fastnet Rock), Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel), Cool Aza Beel (NZ) (Savabeel), On The Bubbles (Brazen Beau), Dynastic (NZ) (Almanzor) and Tokyo Tycoon (NZ) (Satono Aladdin).
“Karyn (Fenton-Ellis) put a syndicate of together of ladies and I’m thrilled this filly has won first-up for them,” David Ellis said. “Having Fastnet Rock and Encosta de Lago as her first two dam sires is an enormous advantage in any pedigree. She’s a filly with plenty of natural substance and we regarded her as a really good value purchase.
“Bellatrix Star won the first two-year-old race this season for us at Wanganui and is now having a break, and this filly has won early in the season too, which just allows us to buy some time.
“Some of our other Karaka Millions winners – Cool Aza Beel, Avantage and Melody Belle – won early in their two-year-old seasons, with the latter two having their best seasons as five and six-year-olds.
“It’s important in our training methods that we don’t put any undue pressure on our two-year-olds to perform, and it’s those that put their hands up with natural precocity who get a chance to race early on.”
With their debut victories, Bellatrix Star and About Last Night each earned $14,375 in prize-money to take a clear early lead on the order of entry. The top five is rounded out by Hard Attack (NZ) (All Too Hard) with $4,625, and Ka Pai Kiwi (NZ) (Better Than Ready) and Elegant Jazz (NZ) (Russian Revolution) with $3,500 each.
The next two-year-old race on the calendar is a $25,000 race over 950 metres at Hawera this Saturday.
View the two year-old order of entry here.
View the three-year-old order of entry here.
Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)