Karaka Quinella in Bonecrusher Stakes

6 December 2021

Book 2 graduate Dark Destroyer (NZ) wins the $90,000 Group Three Mitchell Family Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m).

Saturday’s $90,000 Group Three Mitchell Family Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) at Matamata produced a one-two finish for horses sourced from Book 2 of Karaka 2020. 

The three-year-old feature was won by the highly talented Dark Destroyer (NZ) (Proisir), who failed to meet the $30,000 reserve set by vendors Highline Thoroughbreds. Trained by Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott for owners Archer Equine Investments, the gelding has now had five starts for two wins, two placings and $81,950 in stakes.

The runner-up was Whiskey (NZ) (Burgundy), who was a $21,000 purchase by co-trainer Shaune Ritchie from the draft of Brighthill Farm. He has earned $29,525 to date in a six-start career.

But all eyes on Saturday were on Dark Destroyer, who is emerging as one of the leading talents among this season’s crop of three-year-olds. He had begun his career with a placing and a win at Taupo, then stepped up to top company with a bold placing in the Group Two Sarten Memorial (1400m). The only time he has been out of the top three in his career was when he finished a creditable fifth in the Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton last month.

Dark Destroyer was sent out as a $2.20 favourite on Saturday, and after being kept out wide on a deteriorating Matamata track by jockey Sam Weatherley, he began to warm into his work at the top of the home straight.

Whiskey and La Bella Beals (Star Turn) kicked through on his inside and made him work hard, but Dark Destroyer was up to the task. He moved through his gears and drew up alongside those rivals, gradually getting the upper hand to score by a long neck.

“That was good for the team and really good for David (Archer),” O’Sullivan said. “We think he is a very nice horse. Sam (Weatherley) was pretty complimentary of the horse and he actually said he felt with a set of blinkers he would be even better.

“I thought he showed a really good will to win on a tough track, which meant the 1400 metres was probably more like a mile. We weren’t sure about what his distance range is, and even though we sent him to Riccarton, both Scotty and I thought he would be a better horse for the experience.

“He holds a nomination for the New Zealand Derby (2400m), but we want to sit down and talk with David about what his thoughts are, and we won’t be making any decisions until we’ve done that.”

Vendor Highline Thoroughbreds
Breeding Proisir – All Can Party
Sale Lot 979, Karaka 2020 Book 2, Psd (Res $30,000)
Bred by WE Jeffries