All About the Bubbles

29 December 2021

On The Bubbles won impressively at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

The clear headline act on the order of entry for the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) is On The Bubbles (Brazen Beau), whose bold performance at Ellerslie on Boxing Day showed that he was right on track. 

Purchased for $90,000 by David Ellis from the Leanach Lodge draft in Book 1 of Karaka 2020, On The Bubbles played a starring role last season with his victories in the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) and the Group One Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).

The Brazen Beau gelding missed the spring due to an entrapped epiglottis, and he was a beaten favourite when he resumed with a second placing at Te Rapa earlier this month. But it was a different story back at Ellerslie as he fought off the challenge of the previously undefeated Pareanui Bay (NZ) (Lonhro) to win the $80,000 Listed Shaw’s Wire Ropes Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m).

Trainer Jamie Richards will now give him the opportunity to add the Karaka Million 3YO Classic to his two-year-old triumph last season, joining stablemate Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel) as the only horse in history to complete that double. The TAB have now made him a $2.80 favourite.

“On that run, you’d think he would be hard to beat in the Karaka Million,” Ellis said. “I’m so happy for all the owners, including our children, who have shares in the horse. It’s a great thrill and such an excitable ownership group.

“It’s been publicly documented that he had some breathing issues and underwent an operation, but Opie (Bosson, jockey) said to me afterwards that he breathed really well today. He’s comfortable here and loves the course.”

New Year’s Day could bring some movement on the Karaka Million 3YO Classic order of entry, with the Group Two Skycity Auckland Guineas (1600m) at Ellerslie set to feature a number of bright prospects.

View the Karaka Million 3YO Classic Order of Entry here.

Karaka Million 2YO Contenders Impress

With five brilliant victories in the last nine days by $1m DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) contenders, the field for the electrifying Ellerslie showpiece on January 22 is quickly starting to take shape.

The superb Group Two Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) winner Wolverine (NZ) (Tivaci) retains her place at the top of the table with $69,970 in stakes, but things are changing quickly just below her.

Grace ‘N’ Grey (NZ) (Spirit Of Boom) has swept up to second with $38,200. Runner-up on debut at Te Aroha last month, the Cambridge Stud graduate raised her game to another level with a dominant front-running performance at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

Bought by David Ellis for $240,000 from the Book 1 draft of breeders Cambridge Stud at Karaka 2021, Grace ‘N’ Grey completed a massive week for Te Akau Racing’s Karaka Million contenders with her Boxing Day heroics.

Smart victories a few days earlier by Lord Cosmos (Pierro) and Fellini (NZ) (Belardo) moved them both into the top 10 on the order of entry with $12,270 and $11,100 respectively, while first-starter Dynastic (NZ) (Almanzor) also earned $11,100 with a second placing behind Grace ‘N’ Grey at Ellerslie.

That gives Te Akau and trainer Jamie Richards five horses among the top 10 on the Karaka Million order of entry, with stakes-placed Taviarma (NZ) (Tavistock) also prominently positioned with $20,350.

The tangerine army will shoot for an extraordinary sixth straight win in the Karaka Million 2YO, having previously won it with Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands), Avantage (Fastnet Rock), Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel), Cool Aza Beel (NZ) (Savabeel) and On The Bubbles (Brazen Beau).

“Grace ‘N’ Grey was our third two-year-old winner in a week, and the race provided another couple that are staking their claims for the Karaka Million,” David Ellis said on Boxing Day. “She’s done everything right and won impressively, Grace ‘N’ Grey, and I thought the colt (Dynastic) was very good too, especially off a tough trip.

“It’s a big thrill when you buy these horses at the yearling sales, put a lot of good friends into them and they trust you, and it’s great to see them come out and race like that.”

The other Karaka Million contenders to win in the last nine days were first-starter Kana (NZ) (Tivaci), who earned $17,250 with a slick win at Awapuni on December 18, and Swettenham Stud’s Pacific Dragon (NZ) (Charm Spirit), who has $16,650 to her name after scoring at Pukekohe.

But there are still several opportunities to make major moves up the order of entry over the next couple of weeks, starting with the famous New Year’s Day meeting at Ellerslie this weekend, which features the $120,000 Group Two Eclipse Stakes (1200m).

View the DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO Order of Entry here