First Season Sires in the Spotlight at Karaka 2022

2 February 2022

New Zealand currently boasts some of its most exciting young sire talent, and now another batch of well-credentialled newcomers are set for eagerly-anticipated debuts during Karaka 2022.

First season sires made a big splash at last year’s sale, with the likes of Almanzor, Time Test and Satono Aladdin all represented in good numbers from their high-quality debut crops.

Cambridge Stud’s Almanzor claimed leading first-season sire honours and finished second among all sires by average in Book 1, selling 42 yearlings for a total of $8.13 million and an average of $193,571 – second only to the superstar Savabeel. Fast-forward 12 months and one of those 42 yearlings was Dynastic (NZ), who delivered his sire a first-crop triumph in the $1m DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie.

The class of Karaka 2022 features 19 first season sires with the chance to make an early impression of their own. Eight of those exciting freshmen are New Zealand-based, with the rest embarking on stud careers across the Tasman. 


New Zealand-based First Season Sires



Ace High

Rich Hill Stud’s Ace High is represented by 15 yearlings in Book 1 and 24 in Book 2.

A son of Champion racehorse, superb sire and increasingly influential sire of sires High Chaparral, Ace High is a sibling to three stakes winners including Hong Kong star Winner’s Way (Starcraft).

Ace High himself lined up in 28 races for five wins, four placings and more than A$2.2 million in stakes. He completed an outstanding Group One double in the spring of his three-year-old year, capturing the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick and Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington, and later added the Group Two Hill Stakes (2000m). He also finished second in the Group One Australian Derby (2400m).

Ace High’s Book 1 yearlings include:

  • Lot 7, whose dam never raced but boasts some strong pedigree credentials. Her half-sister Only Words (End Sweep) won the Group Two Surround Stakes (1400m) and is the dam of Group Two winners Chat (Deep Field) and Holy Snow (Fastnet Rock). Another half-sister, You Can’t Say That (Fusaichi Pegasus), is the dam of Group winners Darci Be Good (NZ) (Darci Brahma) and Babylon Berlin (All Too Hard).
  • Lot 263, a filly out of Fuar (NZ) (Kaapstad). Herself a three-race winner, Fuar is the dam of five winners from seven foals to race, two of them stakes performers headed by the brilliant First Serve (NZ) (Swiss Ace), whose seven wins included the Group Three Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m).




Standing at Waikato Stud, Ardrossan has five yearlings catalogued for Book 1 and four in Book 2.

The stocks of the Redoute’s Choice stallion have risen sharply over the last six months, being a half-brother to Incentivise (Shamus Award), whose astonishing nine-race winning streak included the Group One Caulfield Cup (2400m), Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and Turnbull Stakes (2000m). The superb sequence came to a gallant end with a second placing in the Melbourne Cup (3200m).

Ardrossan is also a half-brother to the Listed winners Bergerac (Drumbeats) and Cheyenne Warrior (Not A Single Doubt), and their dam Miss Argyle (Iglesia) placed in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) in Sydney as a two-year-old.

Always held in enormously high regard by trainer Stephen Marsh, Ardrossan raced only nine times but collected four wins and two placings. He won the Group Three Concorde Handicap (1200m) and Listed Equine Veterinary Centre Stakes (1100m), along with a close third placing in the Group One Waikato Sprint (1400m) behind Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) and Bostonian (NZ) (Jimmy Choux).

Ardrossan’s Book 1 yearlings include:

  • Lot 39, out of an unraced half-sister to the classy grey Raid (NZ) (Pins), who won the Listed Lion Red Plate (1200m) and placed in the Group One Diamond Stakes (1200m) and the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m). Raid is the dam of five winners, three stakes performers including the dual Listed winner Night Raid (Vancouver). Also closely related to Group One winner Stratum Star (Stratum) and the high-class Prague (Redoute’s Choice).
  • Lot 461, whose unraced dam is a half-sister to the Group Two Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) winner and Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) placegetter Aotea Lad (NZ) (Savabeel). Their dam Corsage (NZ) (Volksraad) placed in four stakes races including the Group One Diamond Stakes (1200m).



Embellish (NZ)

Twelve months after claiming leading first-season sire honours with Almanzor, Cambridge Stud are back again this year with the Group One-winning blueblood Embellish (NZ), who has seven yearlings in Book 1 and 16 in Book 2.

The first Group One-winning son of champion sire Savabeel to retire to stud, Embellish is a full-brother to the Group One-winning high-class mare Diademe (NZ) (Savabeel), who in turn is the dam of stakes performers Unition (Fastnet Rock) and Conqueror (Fastnet Rock). Another close relative is Sacred Star (Flying Spur), who was New Zealand’s champion sprinter in 2014-15 and won the Group One Telegraph (1200m) and Waikato Sprint (1400m).

Embellish himself was offered by his breeders Waikato Stud at Karaka 2016, where Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis secured him for $775,000. He won three times in a 10-start career, headed by a superb victory in the Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton, where the field also featured subsequent Group One stars Age Of Fire (Fastnet Rock), Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) and Bostonian (NZ) (Jimmy Choux). Embellish also finished second in the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).

Embellish’s Book 1 yearlings include:

  • Lot 192, whose winning dam Dance On By (Sadler’s Wells) is a full-sister to elite racehorse and sire High Chaparral. Dance On By is the dam of three winners from four foals to race so far, headed by the stakes-placed Gone With The Wind (NZ) (Sebring).
  • Lot 386, a colt whose dam Love Diamonds (Danehill) has already produced Group Two winner Queen Of Diamonds (NZ) (Savabeel) and stakes-placed Lovetessa (NZ) (O’Reilly). Coming from the iconic Cambridge Stud damline of Eight Carat, Diamond Lover and Tristalove, this colt is also from the same family as recent Group Three Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) winner Miss Roseiano (Exceed And Excel).




A Group One performer in both hemispheres in the famous colours of Pencarrow Stud, Eminent stands at Brighthill Farm and is represented by five yearlings in Book 1 and 14 in Book 2.

Eminent is a son of one of the world’s greatest-ever racehorses, Frankel, who won all of his 14 starts including 10 at Group One level. He has risen to superstardom at stud as well, named champion British and Irish sire last year and siring Derby winners Adayar and Hurricane Lane.

The dam of Eminent is You’ll Be Mine (Kingmambo), who was a winner at two and placed in the Group One Fillies’ Mile (1600m) at Ascot.

Second dam Quarter Moon (Sadler’s Wells) was champion two-year-old filly in Ireland in 2001, winning the Moyglare Stud Stakes (1400m), and later placed in the Epsom Oaks (2400m), Irish Oaks (2400m) and Irish 1000 Guineas (1600m). Quarter Moon is the dam of a series of stakes performers, headed by Group One Pretty Polly Stakes (2000m) winner Diamondsandrubies (Fastnet Rock).

Eminent won three of his 13 starts including the Group Two Prix Guillaume (2000m) and Group Three Craven Stakes (1600m). But he also made his mark at the elite level, finishing sixth in the English 2000 Guineas (1600m), fourth in the Epsom Derby (2400m), fifth in the Eclipse Stakes (2000m), third in the Irish Champion Stakes (2000m) and fifth in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2000m). He later travelled to Sydney, where he ran second in the Group One Ranvet Stakes (2000m).

Eminent’s Book 1 yearlings include:

  • Lot 6, a half-brother to last season’s Group One South Australian Derby (2500m) runner-up Let’s Karaka Deel (NZ) (Dundeel).
  • Lot 25, whose half-sister Ruud Not Too (NZ) (Bernardini) won the Group Two Rich Hill Mile (1600m). Dam Too Many Diamonds (NZ) (O’Reilly) is a half-sister to the quality sprinting mare Royal Asscher (NZ) (Stravinsky), who is the granddam of current Tasmanian star Still A Star (Toronado).



Jon Snow (NZ)

Clearview Park’s Jon Snow (NZ) has one yearling in Book 1 and seven in Book 2. 

By the high-class former Haunui Farm shuttle stallion Iffraaj, Jon Snow is out of a winning mare by O’Reilly (NZ) who is a half-sister to the multiple stakes winner (Mr) Ubiquitous (NZ) (Tale Of The Cat) and descends from the champion Solveig (NZ) (Imposing). This damline has produced dozens of stakes performers including Group One winner Gallic (NZ) (Zabeel) and trans-Tasman stakes star Floria (NZ) (Savabeel).

Jon Snow himself was offered by Haunui Farm at Karaka 2015, where co-trainer Andrew Forsman bought him for $65,000. He won four of his 23 starts and more than $2.1 million in stakes.

His biggest triumph came in the Group One Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick, while he also won the Group Two Tulloch Stakes (2000m) and Group Three JRA Cup (2050m). His long list of big-race placings included the Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m), Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), Zabeel Classic (2000m), Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and Levin Classic (1600m).

Jon Snow’s Karaka 2022 yearlings include:

  • Lot 297, a close relative to the exceptional Group One Australian Derby (2400m), Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Caulfield Stakes (2000m) winner and sire Naturalism (Palace Music).
  • Lot 1020, out of a stakes-placed half-sister to the superstar Group One New Zealand Derby (2000m), Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Windsor Park Plate (1600m) winner Gingernuts (NZ) (Iffraaj).



Ocean Emperor (NZ)

Ocean Emperor (NZ) stands at Weowna Park and is represented by four yearlings in Book 2.

He is by the legendary Zabeel (NZ) out of Tootsie (NZ) (Pins), who won seven races including the Group Three Mannerism Stakes (1200m) and Listed Supa Centa Sprint (1200m). She also placed in the Group One Telegraph Handicap (1200m), and her close relatives include Group Two winner Legless Veuve (NZ) (Pins) and the dams of Group One stars Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel) and Savvy Coup (NZ) (Savabeel).

Ocean Emperor is the best of four winners out of Tootsie, who is also the granddam of this season’s Group One Flight Stakes (1600m) heroine Never Been Kissed (Tivaci).

From 28 starts, Ocean Emperor recorded nine wins and five placings. He won the Group Two Tauranga Stakes (1600m) twice, along with the Group Two Japan-NZ International Trophy (1600m).

Ocean Emperor’s Karaka 2022 yearlings include:

  • Lot 898, a colt out of the Group Three-winning mare Lady Alberton (NZ) (Golan), who is a three-quarter-sister to the dam of Group One Doncaster Handicap (1600m) winner Brutal (NZ) (O’Reilly) and black-type winner Talaria (NZ) (O’Reilly).
  • Lot 981, a close relative of the champion So You Think (NZ) (High Chaparral).




Novara Park’s Staphanos is set to feature in both sessions of Karaka 2022, with three yearlings in the catalogue for Book 1 and 19 in Book 2.

Staphanos is by the Japanese mega-sire Deep Impact, a world-class racehorse who has gone on to be champion sire in Japan on nine separate occasions. His 179 individual stakes-winning progeny include Group One headline acts such as Gentildonna, Contrail, A Shin Hikari, Loves Only You, Gran Alegria, Fierce Impact, Profondo and many more.

The dam of Staphanos is Kokoshink (Kurofune), a full-sister to the stakes winner Golden Hind (Kurofune). Herself a three-race winner, Kokoshink is the dam of six winners including two black-type performers. Staphanos is the best of those, while Finift (Deep Impact) placed at Group Three level.

Staphanos raced from the age of two to seven, winning four of his 31 starts including the Group Three Saudi Arabia Royal Cup Fuji Stakes (1600m). He was also a five-time Group One placegetter in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m), Hong Kong Cup (2000m), Osaka Hai (2000m) and two editions of the Tenno Sho Autumn (2000m).

Yearlings by Staphanos in the Karaka 2022 catalogues include:

  • Lot 32, whose half-brother Explosively (NZ) (Sweynesse) was a dual placegetter at Group Three level in New Zealand last season and is now showing bright promise in Hong Kong under the name Solid Impact.
  • Lot 234, a half-sister to last season’s Group One Australian Derby (2400m) and South Australian Derby (2500m) hero Explosive Jack (NZ) (Jakkalberry).



Elite sprinter U S Navy Flag, who now stands at The Oaks Stud, has 29 yearlings in the catalogue for Book 1 and another 20 in Book 2.

U S Navy Flag

He is by the globally influential War Front, who has sired 100 stakes winners worldwide and is also making an impact as a sire of sires through the likes of Declaration Of War.

The dam of U S Navy Flag is Misty For Me (Galileo), who was champion two-year-old filly in France and Ireland in 2010. Her five wins included the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes (1400m), Prix Marcel Boussac (1600m), Irish 1000 Guineas (1600m) and Pretty Polly Stakes (2000m). She is the dam of three stakes winners, with U S Navy Flag joined by triple Group One winner Roly Poly (War Front) and the Group Three winner Cover Song (Fastnet Rock).

From 19 starts, U S Navy Flag recorded five wins, beginning with a two-year-old Group One double in the Middle Park Stakes (1200m) and Dewhurst Stakes (1400m). He backed that up as a three-year-old with the sire-making sprint, the Group One July Cup (1200m), along with a placing in the Irish 2000 Guineas (1600m).

U S Navy Flag’s Book 1 yearlings include:

  • Lot 116, a filly whose half-sister Inspirational Girl (NZ) (Reliable Man) won last year’s Group One Railway Stakes (1600m) in Perth. Another half-sibling, Ruettiger (NZ) (Duporth), won at Listed level in Melbourne, while close relatives include Group performers Rainbow Styling (NZ) (Zabeel), Demonetization (All Too Hard), Neverland (Big Brown) and Midnight Blue (So You Think).
  • Lot 426, a half-brother to Yourdeel (NZ) (Dundeel), who completed New Zealand’s two-year-old Group One double of the Sistema Stakes (1200m) and Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m). He also placed in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m).


Australian-based First Season Sires

Written By

The remainder of the first-season sires in the Karaka 2022 catalogues are based in Australia, including the likes of undefeated American Triple Crown champion Justify, five-time Group One winner and champion three-year-old The Autumn Sun, and fellow brilliant Group winners Grunt (NZ), Harry Angel, Lean Mean MachineMendelssohn, Saxon Warrior, ShowtimeTrapeze Artist and Written By.

In the case of Justify, Coolmore Australia are offering a Ferrari to the connections of the first member of this debut crop to win any of a series of selected races. The 16 eligible races include New Zealand’s Karaka Million 2YO (1200m).


Leading technology and world-famous kiwi hospitality will again combine for an unforgettable Karaka experience at NZB's 96th National Yearling Sales Series.

For the second year, buyers who are unable to physically attend the Sale will be able to participate via NZB’s user-friendly online bidding platform.

NZB and New Zealand-based agents are also available to complete inspections on behalf of buyers at the on-farm parades and at the iconic Karaka Sales Centre. View the full list of NZ-based Agents here.

View the full Book 1 and 2 catalogues online here.


  • Vodafone New Zealand Derby Day at Ellerslie, Saturday 5 March
  • Book 1 Sale: Monday 7 – Wednesday 9 March, commencing 11AM (NZT)
  • Book 2 Sale: Thursday 10 – Saturday 12 March, commencing 11AM (NZT)
  • Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day at Ellerslie, Sunday 13 March