Molly Bloom (NZ) Heads Star-Studded Field for TAB Karaka Millions 3YO

25 January 2024

Molly Bloom drew 10 in a spectular live draw at SKYCITY.

Top-flight filly Molly Bloom (NZ) (Ace High) will attempt to join exclusive company when she takes her place among an elite field in Saturday’s $1.5m TAB Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m) at Ellerslie.

Since the lucrative three-year-old feature was added to Ellerslie’s twilight extravaganza alongside its two-year-old equivalent in 2018, only one horse has ever followed a spring Group One victory in Christchurch with Karaka Millions glory.

That was Aegon (NZ) (Sacred Falls), whose Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) heroics at Riccarton in November of 2020 were a springboard to a thrilling photo-finish triumph at Ellerslie, beating the subsequent Group One winner Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel) by a desperate head.

Molly Bloom announced her arrival in the top echelon of this season’s three-year-old talent with a dazzling finish from third-last to win the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) in November. She added the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m) on Boxing Day, and on Saturday she will jump from gate 10 as a highly respected favourite for the Karaka Millions 3YO. She will be ridden by visiting Australian jockey Blake Shinn.

Offered by Seaton Park in Book 1 of Karaka 2022, Molly Bloom was bought by Wexford Stables for $150,000. She has already turned that into $439,050 in stakes from a six-start, three-win career, and Saturday’s increased prize of $1.5m gives her the opportunity to raise that to even greater heights.

But Molly Bloom will not have it all her own way. The 15-horse field also features no fewer than 10 other proven black-type performers.

Orchestral (NZ) (Savabeel) was a $625,000 purchase from Haunui Farm’s draft at Karaka 2022, and she has lived up to the price tag and high-class bloodlines by showing an abundance of racetrack talent. She has had five starts for two wins and two placings, including a flying finish into second in the Group Three Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) and a dominant last-start victory over 1600 metres.

Orchestral is trained by Roger James and Robert Wellwood, who won this race last year with Prowess (NZ) (Proisir). She will be ridden by champion expat Kiwi jockey James McDonald and has drawn barrier one.

Another high-class filly in this year’s field is Impendabelle (Impending), who has earned $370,900 from a 10-start career that has produced three wins and four placings. Her wins include the Group Two Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) and Group Two Soliloquy Stakes (1400m), and she has been a dual Group One placegetter in this season’s New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) and Levin Classic (1600m). She was bought for $80,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2022 and will jump from gate nine on Saturday.

Paul Moroney Bloodstock and Ballymore Stables bought Pendragon (NZ) (U S Navy Flag) for $110,000 from Book 2 of Karaka 2022. His first three starts produced two fourths and a 10th, but then he turned a corner in spectacular style. He has won all of his last three, culminating in the Group Two Auckland Guineas (1400m) on Boxing Day. Mark Zahra, who has won the last two runnings of the Melbourne Cup (3200m), will ride Pendragon from gate four.

Tokyo Tycoon (NZ) (Satono Aladdin) was a breathtaking last-to-first winner of the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) last year, and he later added the Group Three Matamata Slipper (1200m) and this season’s Listed El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m). Opie Bosson will take the mount on Saturday for Te Akau’s premiership-dominating trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson, and he has drawn gate three.

Tokyo Tycoon was a $125,000 purchase at Karaka 2022 by Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis, who also bought the only horse to have ever completed the Karaka Millions 2YO-3YO double – the superstar Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel), who Ellis purchased for $380,000 from Karaka 2018.

Walker and Bergerson’s other runner on Saturday is Talisker (NZ) (Embellish), who kicked off his three-year-old season with three wins in succession before finishing a gallant second in the Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m). He will jump from barrier eight and will be ridden by Warren Kennedy, who won this race aboard Prowess 12 months ago.

To Catch A Thief (U S Navy Flag) is still a maiden but has placed in nine of his 11 starts, including the Group One Sistema Stakes (1200m), Group One Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes and this season’s Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m). Visiting Australian-based jockey Robbie Dolan will ride him from gate seven.

Lupo Solitario (NZ) (Satono Aladdin) has recorded three wins and two seconds from five starts so far, headed by a win in the Group Three Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) and a placing in the Group Two Sarten Memorial (1400m). He has drawn wide in gate 12.

Nearby in gate 14 is Just As Sharp (NZ) (Swiss Ace), who has won three of his six starts so far including last month’s Listed Trevor & Corallie Eagle Memorial (1500m).

Classy fillies Ethereal Star (Snitzel) and Glamour Tycoon (Written Tycoon) have also both been Listed winners, and Ethereal Star was also runner-up in last year’s Karaka Million 2YO. They both drew wide in Wednesday night’s barrier draw, coming away with gates 15 and 11 respectively.

The TAB Karaka Millions 3YO will be run as sixth and final race on the action-packed six-race programme at Ellerslie on Saturday, with a scheduled start time of 7.24pm.

2024 Final Field:
80 1 4 Pendragon
U S Navy Flag x Kerre
Mike Moroney & Pam Gerard Mark Zahra Book 2
Valachi Downs
Paul Moroney B/stock/Ballymore Stables
80 2 3 Tokyo Tycoon
Satono Aladdin x  All About the Coin
Mark Walker & Sam Bergerson Opie Bosson Book 1
Rich Hill Stud
DC Ellis
78 3 8 Talisker
Embellish x  Glenkinchie
Mark Walker & Sam Bergerson Warren Kennedy Book 1
Landsdowne Park Ltd
DC Ellis
75 4 7 To Catch a Thief
U S Navy Flag x  Stolen Gem
Graham Richardson & Rogan Norvall Robbie Dolan Book 1
Woburn Farm
Stuart Hale & Co (BAFNZ)
74 5 12 Lupo Solitario
Satono Aladdin x  She's Aloof
Danica Guy Ryan Elliot Book 2
Rich Hill Stud
LJ Howl
72 6 14 Just as Sharp
Swiss Ace x  Readyor
Team Rogerson Craig Grylls Book 1
Westbury Stud
Rogerson B/stock
64 7 6 Geriatrix
Almanzor x Its Our Showtime
Lance O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott Vinnie Colgan Book 1
Cambridge Stud
Bruce Perry B/stock
64 8 2 The Weapon
Shocking x  Berzallia
Lance O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott Matthew Cameron Book 1
Rich Hill Stud
Wexford Stables
63 9 13 Royal Destroyer
Embellish x Markle
John Bary Joe Doyle National Weanling Sale
Cambridge Stud
JGG Bary
84 10 10 Molly Bloom
Ace High x Dancilla
Lance O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott Blake Shinn Book 1
Seaton Park Ltd
Wexford Stables
79 11 9 Impendabelle
Impending x Applegate
Tony Pike Michael McNab Book 1
Hallmark Stud
Brewers B/stock
74 12 1 Orchestral
Savabeel x Symphonic
Roger James & Robert Wellwood James McDonald Book 1
Haunui Farm
RA James/R Wellwood
73 13 15 Ethereal Star
Snitzel x Eleonora
Andrew Forsman Masa Hashizume Book 1
Blandford Lodge
Forsman Racing/Andrew Williams B/stock/Bevan Smith B/stock
71 14 11 Glamour Tycoon
Written Tycoon x  Glamour Gal
Stephen Marsh Sam Spratt Book 1
Highline Thoroughbreds
SB Marsh
69 15 5 Grande Gallo
Belardo x Medrano
Lane O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott Wiremu Pinn Book 2
Haunui Farm
Wexford Stables