Karaka a Springboard to Stakes Success

23 February 2022

From the nutrient-rich soils and temperate climates of an upbringing in New Zealand, to the Karaka sale ring and then on to the racetrack – it’s a simple formula, but one that has paved the way to triumph in some of racing’s greatest prizes across Australasia, Asia and even further afield.

Horses sold through New Zealand Bloodstock's Karaka Sales Centre over the last two decades have shone brightly on some of the thoroughbred world’s premier stages, including:

Hong Kong's elite performer, Beauty Generation (NZ).
  • Royal Ascot Group One glory with So You Think (NZ) (High Chaparral) in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2000m) and Little Bridge (NZ) (Faltaat) in the King’s Stand Stakes (1000m). 
  • Hong Kong champions such as Beauty Generation (NZ) (Road To Rock), Aerovelocity (NZ) (Pins) and Mr Stunning (Exceed And Excel), who won 15 Group One races between them. Beauty Generation shattered Hong Kong prize-money records with earnings in excess of HK$106 million.
  • Karaka graduates have won the HK$24m Group One Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) six times in the last seven years with Aerovelocity in 2014 and 2016, Mr Stunning in 2018 and 2019, Beat the Clock (Hinchinbrook) in 2020 and Sky Field (Deep Field) in 2021.
  • A trio of Cox Plate (2040m) triumphs with El Segundo (NZ) (Pins), So You Think and Ocean Park (NZ) (Thorn Park).
  • Melbourne Cup (3200m) stardom with Efficient (NZ) (Zabeel) and Prince Of Penzance (NZ) (Pentire).
  • Caufield Cup (2400m) success with Mongolian Khan (Holy Roman Emperor).
  • Kolding (NZ) (Ocean Park) made history by winning the inaugural running of one of the world’s richest turf races, Sydney’s A$7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) in 2019.
  • There have also been countless stars of the domestic scene, including all of the last seven winners of New Zealand’s Horse of the Year Award – two-time winners Mongolian Khan, Bonneval (NZ) (Makfi) and Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands), followed by the reigning Horse of the Year Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel).

In the last six years alone, there have been 141 Group One victories recorded by 83 individual Group One stars sourced from New Zealand Bloodstock Sales. Just last season, Karaka graduates won 32 Group One races and scored a total of 108 black type successes.

No fewer than 11 of those Group One victories last season came in Australia, where soaring prizemoney and participation make it one of world racing’s most sought-after jurisdictions.

Not to mention, New Zealand-bred horses won 24% of all Australian Group One races last season while making up just 7% of the racing population.

Karaka graduates particularly made their presence felt in Australia’s showpiece three-year-old races in 2020-21, collecting six Group One wins including a clean sweep of Australia’s Group One Derby races.

First cab off the rank was Johnny Get Angry (NZ) (Tavistock), who was a $50,000 purchase by Malua Racing and Flemington Bloodstock from Bradbury Park’s draft in Book 1 of Karaka 2019. He triumphed in the A$2m Group One Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington in October 2020.

A few months later, Karaka graduates ran rampant through Sydney’s autumn triple crown of three-year-old features, starting with the $65,000 Book 2 purchase Lion’s Roar (NZ) (Contributer) in the A$1m Group One Randwick Guineas (1600m) and followed by Mo’unga (NZ) (Savabeel) in the A$600,000 Group One Rosehill Guineas (2000m). Mo’unga was a $325,000 purchase from Book 1 of Karaka 2019.

Group One AUS Derby all-Karaka trifecta - Explosive Jack (NZ), Young Werther (NZ) and Lion's Roar (NZ).

The third leg of the special Sydney treble was the A$2m Group One Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick, where Explosive Jack (NZ) (Jakkalberry) beat Young Werther (NZ) (Tavistock) and Lion’s Roar in an all-Karaka trifecta. 

Explosive Jack was a $100,000 purchase by Moody Racing from Novara Park’s draft in Book 1 of Karaka 2019. He became the first horse in more than three decades of Australian racing to collect three Derby prizes during a single three-year-old season, having also won the A$500,000 Group One South Australian Derby (2500m) and the A$150,000 Listed Tasmanian Derby (2200m). He has dwarfed his $100,000 purchase price with over A$1.8 million in stakes.

Explosive Jack later travelled up to Brisbane to shoot for a fourth Derby triumph in the A$600,000 Group One Queensland Derby (2400m), but he had to settle for third at Eagle Farm and was upstaged by fellow Karaka graduate Kukeracha (NZ) (Night Of Thunder). Bought for $130,000 by Mulcaster Bloodstock from Waikato Stud, Kukeracha has earned over A$650,000 to date.

Among the older Karaka graduates, trans-Tasman star Probabeel collected an interstate Group One double with her victories in the A$1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney and A$500,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) in Melbourne.

Bought by Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis for $380,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2018, Probabeel has earned over A$4.2 million in stakes. The Jamie Richards-trained marvel has been starring in elite races since the age of two, having won the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) in 2019 before adding the Group One Surround Stakes (1400m) and the Karaka Million 3YO (1600m) during the 2019-20 season.

Kolding was also a dual Group One winner in 2020-21, capturing the A$500,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) and A$600,000 All Aged Stakes (1400m). Kolding was a $170,000 purchase at Karaka in 2017 by Mulcaster Bloodstock and has earned over A$6.4 million.

The other Group One victory came in Perth with Inspirational Girl (NZ) (Reliable Man) in the A$1m Railway Stakes (1600m). John Chalmers paid $190,000 to buy Inspirational Girl at Karaka in 2017, and the high-class six-year-old has won nine of her 13 starts and more than A$1.1 million.

Those Australian successes have carried on into 2021-22, with Probabeel adding the A$1m Group One Might And Power Stakes (2000m) to her exceptional record, while exciting prospect Mo’unga took the step from three to four in impressive style in the opening Group One race of the Australian season – the A$500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.

Sierra Sue (NZ) romped home in the A$1m Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).

Sierra Sue (NZ) (Darci Brahma), who was passed in at Karaka 2018 before later selling for just $2000 at the 2019 Karaka May Sale, stepped up to the big time in the A$1m Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield during the spring. She has now had 20 starts for eight wins and over A$1.1 million. 

Sky Field, who was bought for $175,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2018, flew the Karaka flag in Sha Tin’s showpiece Hong Kong Sprint in November. It was the first Group One triumph for the high-class performer, who has had 19 starts for six wins, eight placings and more than HK$26.7 million in stakes.

Sky Field races for similar connections as the $160,000 Karaka 2018 graduate Sky Darci (NZ) (Darci Brahma), who triumphed in the 2021 Hong Kong Derby (2000m).

Meanwhile, there have also been a series of Group One triumphs on home soil in recent months, starting with $800,000 Savabeel colt Noverre (NZ) in the stallion-making Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) in November, and followed by elite older horses Tiptronic (NZ) (O’Reilly), The Chosen One (NZ) (Savabeel) and Coventina Bay (NZ) (Shamexpress) between December and February.

Tiptronic, who was bought for $100,000 from the 2015 Premier Sale, added the $240,000 Group One Zabeel Classic (2000m) on Boxing Day to his previous Group One triumph in the 2020 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m). He has now won eight races and more than $760,000 in stakes.

The Chosen One was passed in at the 2017 Premier Sale with a $150,000 reserve. He has performed at the highest echelon on both sides of the Tasman, placing in the Group One Caulfield Cup (2400m), Sydney Cup (3200m), Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) and Otaki WFA Classic (1600m). He has also finished fourth and fifth in the last two runnings of the Melbourne Cup.

In January he claimed a richly deserved first Group One triumph in the $220,000 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham, improving his career record to 37 starts for seven wins and eight placings and earning over $2.3 million.

Coventina Bay was passed in at the 2017 Select Sale with a reserve of a mere $20,000. After triumphing in February’s $400,000 Group One Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa, she has now won 10 of her 21 starts and more than $550,000.

All lots offered at Karaka 2022 are eligible to be nominated for NZB’s lucrative Karaka Million Series. Just 10 short months after they make their virtual sale-ring debut, graduates of the online sale can compete for a share in the 2023 $1m Doubletree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m), followed by the 2024 $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) a year later and $100,000 CollinsonForex Karaka Cup (2200m) for the remainder of their careers.

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. Buyers must ensure they are registered for bidding 24 hours prior to the Sale here.

New Zealand-based agents are also available to complete inspections on behalf of international buyers at on farm parades and at the iconic Karaka Sales Centre. View a 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: Monday 7 – Wednesday 9 March, commencing 11am (NZT)

Book 2: Thursday 10 – Saturday 12 March, commencing 11am (NZT)

Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Day at Ellerslie, Sunday 13 March