Mascarinto (NZ) Bursts into Karaka Million Contention

27 October 2021

Mascarinto (NZ) claims the Matamata Veterinary Services 2YO (1000m).

A jaw-dropping performance on debut at Matamata on Saturday has sent Mascarinto (NZ) (Per Incanto) straight to the top of the order of entry for the $1m DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie on 22 January. 

Bought by Steven Cole Racing for $120,000 from the Karaka 2021 Book 1 draft of proven Karaka Million consignors Haunui Farm, Mascarinto earned $17,250 with his front-running romp in Saturday’s Matamata Veterinary Services 2YO (1000m).

Overlooked as a $20 outsider in a nine-horse field, Mascarinto exploded out of the starting gate and went straight to the lead with Sarah Macnab in the saddle. That was where he stayed, blasting clear of his opposition in the straight and opening up a dominant winning margin of six and three-quarter lengths.

Mascarinto now has a clear lead in the Karaka Million order of entry, with fellow Matamata winners Gwen Stephani (NZ) (El Roca) and Wessex (NZ) (Turn Me Loose) sitting in second and third place with $8,700 and $8,400 respectively.

“We’ve had a high opinion of him since he won his first jumpout at Pukekohe,” trainer Steven Cole told NZ Racing Desk. “Andrew Calder rode in his latest jumpout at Ellerslie and told me afterwards he thought he was a very serious horse, which was good to hear and confirmed my own thinking.

“With the travel he had to undertake and it being his first start, I was just hoping he could run in the money, but he went a whole lot better than that. I don’t think Sarah even really touched him with the whip, so he was very impressive.

“This is the first horse that Murray Notman has raced with us, and it’s fantastic to get a win like that on the board. Murray is a harness racing enthusiast, although he and Dad (David Cole) have been friends for years. He decided to get into a galloper with us, and you couldn’t have asked for a better start.

“We initially weren’t going to pay up for the Karaka Million with this guy, but we ended up making the payment two days before the cut-off, which looks like a good decision now. The win means we can take our time and let him get over this run before we have to look for his next target.”

The next two opportunities for Karaka Million hopefuls to try to boost their bank balance will both come in the first week of next month, with a $12,000 race at Otaki on 4 November, followed by a $30,000 race at Te Rapa on 6 November.

View the full $1m DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) Order of Entry here.

Noverre (NZ) Steps up to Big Stage

Noverre (NZ) wins the $90,000 Group Three War Decree Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton Park.

As well as winning all of the last five runnings of the Karaka Million 2YO, the powerful Te Akau stable of Jamie Richards has also become a major player in the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) on the same star-studded twilight card at Ellerslie. 

The tangerine team won the race in 2020 with Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel), while Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel) was just edged out by Aegon (NZ) (Sacred Falls) in a thrilling photo finish in January of this year.

An eye-catching prospect for 2022 emerged over the weekend when Noverre (NZ) (Savabeel) stormed home to win the $90,000 Group Three War Decree Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton Park, moving up to equal third place on the order of entry for the Karaka Million 3YO Classic.

Noverre was an $800,000 purchase by David Ellis from Waikato Stud’s draft in Book 1 of Karaka 2020. He stepped up to stakes level on Saturday after recording a win and three placings from his first five appearances, and his performance was nothing short of spectacular.

Ridden by Jason Laking, Noverre weaved through traffic and charged home from near last, reeling in fellow Karaka graduate Field Of Gold (NZ) (Starspangledbanner) for a memorable win.

The Karaka Million 3YO Classic now looms large on the horizon for Noverre, who will first take a shot at Group One level in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on 6 November.

“He’s a very valuable colt and is now the favourite for the 2000 Guineas,” Ellis said. “It’s a special thrill for all the owners and all our team. We were thrilled with that. Jason (Laking, jockey) got the colt into a good rhythm, showed plenty of aggression, and he put in some sort of finish.

“It’s never easy to win these lead-up races, but you had to be impressed by the manner in which Noverre won. All going well, he could provide a good chance of becoming the seventh 2000 Guineas winner for Te Akau.”

The top two spots on the Karaka Million 3YO Classic order of entry are also Te Akau runners – last year’s Karaka Million 2YO winner On The Bubbles (Brazen Beau) and runner-up Sneaky Shark (Capitalist).

View the full $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic Order of Entry here.