Hong Kong Buyers Dominate NZB Ready to Run Sale
25 November 2023
Buyers from Hong Kong were a force to be reckoned with throughout the two action-packed days of the 2023 Ready to Run Sale at Karaka held 22 and 23 November.
Riding the wave of the astonishing success of Ready to Run Sale graduates Golden Sixty (Medaglia d’Oro) and Lucky Sweynesse (NZ) (Sweynesse), Hong Kong buyers flocked to Karaka in unprecedented numbers.
Hong Kong buyers’ total spend across the two days was NZ$16.7 million for 70 horses, with an average price of $238,771. Their impressive haul included all of the four highest-priced lots of the Sale.
Lot 376 made a record price of NZ$825,000. The sale-topping Star Turn colt was bought by Hong Kong owner Pato Leung, who was represented at Karaka by trainer Benno Yung and his daughter Samantha.
“We’ve looked at a lot of good horses at the sale today, and the Star Turn really stood out to us,” Samantha Yung said. “He’s a really nice mover and has a very strong build.
“He has a great temperament from what we’ve seen so far. The amount that we paid may have been a little more than we were expecting, but we feel that he will do well for the owner.
There were another two NZ$800,000 purchases, starting with Lot 143 on Wednesday. A son of Harry Angel, he was knocked down to Tartan Meadow Bloodstock in partnership with Andrew Williams Bloodstock.
“I bought him for a prominent Hong Kong owner who’s bought some expensive horses here in the past,” Tartan Meadow Bloodstock’s Paul Chow said.
“My client liked this horse a lot and really wanted to get him. We knew it wasn’t going to be cheap at all, and we just decided as we went along.
“I think this horse is very well put together, well-balanced and correct. He’s athletic enough as well, so there wasn’t much to fault him. His Breeze Up was good and he vetted well.”
Lot 289 was bought by Mr Yeung Kin Man in partnership with bloodstock agent Willie Leung. The All Too Hard gelding had clocked 10.34 for his Breeze Up.
“Mr Yeung has about 10 horses racing in Hong Kong already and he is a genuine racing fan and would love to have more good horses in Hong Kong,” Leung said. “That’s why he wanted to go for some stock here, so we can go through the selection process to find a Group One horse.
“All Too Hard is a very consistent and useful sire in Hong Kong, and the Group One winner Wellington has performed really well in Hong Kong and on grass and synthetic and so he suits Hong Kong. This one looks really precocious, and so hopefully we can get him going to Hong Kong early next season.
“It’s a good sale with plenty of good horses, and New Zealand Bloodstock did a great job to bring a lot of Hong Kong buyers and that’s probably why the market is so strong. There’s strong competition between Hong Kong owners. It’s a good sign that there’s so many owners willing to spend on quality stock.”
Mr Yeung Kin Man finished the Sale as the leading buyer, having purchased 12 horses for a total of NZ$2.4 million.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong trainer Manfred Man has enjoyed an incredible year with champion sprinter Lucky Sweynesse, who has turned his $90,000 price tag at the 2020 edition of the Ready to Run Sale into prize-money in excess of HK$56 million.
Man tried to secure the multiple Group One winner’s half-brother, who was offered as Lot 116. But in the end he was the underbidder on the Contributer colt, who was bought by Laming Racing and John White Bloodstock from Australia for $550,000.
Man did secure Lot 156, a Justify colt for NZ$300,000 in conjunction with agent Willie Leung.
Other top purchases by Hong Kong buyers included Lot 381 for Magnolia Bloodstock, a Deep Field colt for NZ$750,000.
Hong Kong trainers were active with Jamie Richards securing Lot 341, an Exceed and Excel gelding for NZ$450,000, one of three lots purchased by the ex-pat Kiwi for a spend of NZ$1.25 million with bloodstock agent Andrew Williams.
Ryan Fownes went to NZ$440,000 to secure Lot 198, a son of emerging sire Ardrossan, on behalf of his father and trainer Caspar Fownes and owner Mr Me Tsui.
Mark Newnham purchased two lots, including Lot 146 a Hellbent gelding for NZ$425,000.
Pierre Ng secured three lots, including a NZ$425,000 purchase of Lot 358, a Shamus Award gelding.
Attention now turns to Karaka 2024, with the online catalogue being released early next week.
Picture of Benno Yung and his daughter Samantha : Trish Dunell