Barriers Drawn for 2022 Karaka Million Fields

19 January 2022

Barriers for the 2022 Karaka Million at Ellerslie have been drawn.

Wolverine (NZ) (Tivaci) will have to overcome a wide draw to keep her unbeaten record intact in Saturday’s $1m DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie. 

The Roydon Bergerson-trained filly has been a standout of her generation so far, winning all of her three starts including the Group Two Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) and Eclipse Stakes (1200m).

Wolverine has dominated fixed-odds betting leading into New Zealand’s richest juvenile race this weekend, but her task grew more difficult when she landed gate 13 in Wednesday morning’s all-important barrier draw.

No horse has ever won the Karaka Million from gate 13, although Vincent Mangano (NZ) (No Excuse Needed), Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel) and On The Bubbles (Brazen Beau) all won from gate 14.

Trainer Roydon Bergerson is philosophical about Wolverine’s draw, and he backs jockey Leith Innes to get the job done on Saturday evening.

“I’d rather draw 13 than one, that’s for sure,” he said. “She doesn’t put herself in the race – she hasn’t done that in any of her starts so far. So even though it is a little bit of a concern, it’s Leith’s problem now.

“One advantage is that she’ll stay out of trouble. There’s usually a lot of banging and crashing early, and she’ll just be sitting back and smoking her pipe.”

Te Akau Racing’s Jamie Richards, who has won the Karaka Million 2YO five times in a row with Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands), Avantage (Fastnet Rock), Probabeel, Cool Aza Beel (NZ) (Savabeel) and On The Bubbles, was well satisfied with his fortunes in Wednesday’s barrier draw.

Richards has Dynastic (NZ) (Almanzor) jumping from gate five, with Fellini (NZ) (Belardo) in six and Grace ‘N’ Grey (NZ) (Spirit Of Boom) in gate three. Time Flies (NZ) (Time Test), who needs a scratching to make the field, has drawn gate seven. The only one of Richards’ runners to fare badly in the draw was Lord Cosmos (Pierro), who will jump from gate 14.

“Dynastic’s draw is spot on,” Richards said. “That’s exactly where he needs to be, and it’ll give Opie (Bosson, jockey) some options to choose from.

“I’ve been very happy with Dynastic’s build-up, he’s going into the race in really good order. The other one I’d mention is Fellini, who’s been doing everything right and fits a similar profile to some of our previous winners of this race.”

The 2022 Karaka Million Twilight Meeting will be run this Saturday 22 January.

Sacred Satono (NZ) (Satono Aladdin) has drawn the inside gate for Saturday’s Karaka Million 2YO, which will be run at 6.29pm. 

Meanwhile, Richards also has a key hand in Saturday’s $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) with three runners, headed by the $1.70 favourite On The Bubbles.

Attempting to become only the second horse in history to win both the Karaka Million 2YO and the Karaka Million 3YO Classic, On The Bubbles has drawn gate nine among a capacity field.

“I think On The Bubbles is going into this in really good shape,” Richards said. “I was a little bit disappointed with his trial last week, but he’s bounced through that well and done everything right since then.”

Stablemates Pin Me Up (NZ) (Pins) and Sophisticardo (NZ) (Burgundy) will jump from gates 10 and 19 respectively.

The Tony Pike-trained Tutukaka (NZ) (Tavistock), a multiple stakes winner in Brisbane and Melbourne over the last seven months, has landed a handy draw of six, while impressive last-start winner Miss Ella (NZ) (Iffraaj) has the ace draw of one.

The Karaka Million 3YO Classic is the final race on Ellerslie’s action-packed Karaka Million twilight card, with a start time of 7.48pm.

View the full $1m DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO Field here.

View the full $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic Field here.