New Zealand Bloodstock’s Stellar Season Wrap-Up

22 August 2023

Legarto (NZ) 

The curtain recently came down on one of New Zealand Bloodstock’s greatest seasons to date and the 2023-24 season has kicked off with a bang with Karaka graduates Belardo Boy (NZ), Savannah Cloud (NZ) and Mr Brightside (NZ) already taking out black-type races.

The 2022-23 season saw twenty-two individual Group One winners, who emerged from Karaka last season, claim thirty individual Group One races and 117 stakes races.

NZB’s 2022-23 Group One honour roll features an outstanding list of top-class performers over a range of distances, and jurisdictions including the likes of Atishu (NZ), Explosive Jack (NZ), Golden Sixty, Legarto (NZ), Lucky Sweynesse (NZ), Mr Brightside (NZ), Prowess (NZ) and Sharp ‘N’ Smart (NZ), just to name a few.

Australasia Highlights

New Zealand-bred horses won 28% of all Australian Group One races last season while only making up 8% of the racing population.

The girls in particular were out in force, with the Kiwi fillies claiming 55% of all Group One filly races in Australia last season, headlined by Legarto (NZ) (Proisir). After dominating the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), she headed to Australia and took out the Group One Australian Guineas (1600m).

A $90,000 purchase from Book 2 of Karaka 2021 from the Highline Thoroughbred draft, Legarto has already claimed A$1 million in prizemoney, 12 times her original purchase price by Phillip and Anne Brown of Ancroft Stud.

Karaka Million heroine Prowess (NZ) (Proisir) put her name up as one of the next rising stars New Zealand has to offer when she followed up her three-year-old Karaka Millions victory with a statement win in the Group One New Zealand Bonecrusher Stakes (2050m) and then an emphatic win across the Tasman in the Group One Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m).

A $230,000 Book 1 yearling purchase at Karaka for Roger James & Robert Wellwood from Hallmark Stud, she has since earned A$1.2m, in her nine-start career.

Group One success was the only thing missing from the CV of Atishu (NZ) (Savabeel), and the high-class Karaka graduate ticked that box in superb style in the $1m Sydney Queen of the Turf Stakes (1600m) last season. 

Bought by syndicators Go Racing for $260,000 from Waikato Stud’s Book 1 draft of Karaka 2019, the valuable mare has now earned more than A$1.62m.

Kovalica (NZ)

A filly from Ainsley Downs Stud Karaka 2021 draft, became the next Australian Group One winner with a classy and courageous performance in the A$500,000 Australasian Oaks (2000m). Affaire A Suivre (NZ) (Astern) was found by First Light Racing, Paul Willetts, Ciaron Maher and David Eustace for $75,000.

The season been saw the Kiwis dominate the Derby races, with an incredible seven of the last ten Group One Derbys in Australasia having been won by New Zealand-breds.

Sharp ‘N’ Smart (NZ) (Redwood) followed up his Group One New Zealand Herbie Dyke (1600m) win when he took out the Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m). He then headed across to Australia for a short campaign where he stepped up once again and claimed the A$2m Champion Stakes (2000m) for three Group One victories in a season.

Purchased by Rogerson Bloodstock as a Karaka Book 2 yearling from Westbury Stud’s draft, he was later offered at NZB’s Ready to Run Sale.

Dunkel (NZ) also put his name up for a Derby title during the season when he took out the Group One South Australian Derby (2500m). Initially a $40,000 Book 1 yearling purchase by Steven Ramsay at Karaka from the Pencarrow Stud draft, he was then offered again in the same year at the NZB Ready to Run Sale where he was knocked down for $100,000 to Kevin Myers.

Kovalicas (NZ) (Ocean Park) turn of foot saw him dominate the Group One Queensland Derby (2400m) last season for the familiar trainer-owner combination of Chris Waller and Neville Morgan. Kovalica was a $110,000 purchase at Karaka for bloodstock agent Guy Mulcaster from Curraghmore’s draft.

Hong Kong Highlights

Another major highlight of the season came when graduates of NZB’s Ready to Run Sale swept four categories in the prestigious Hong Kong Champion Awards.

Golden Sixty was historically crowned Horse of the Year for the third consecutive year, while also being named Hong Kong’s Champion Miler.

Three time Horse of the Year-Golden Sixty 

The spectacular seven-year-old currently sits in second equal on the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings with fellow graduate Lucky Sweynesse (NZ) (Sweynesse).

Two more awards on the same night went to the rising superstar Lucky Sweynesse, who was crowned Champion Sprinter and Champion Four-Year-Old.

Adding to the successful season, 50% of all Group One races in Hong Kong were won by horses sourced at Karaka, an incredible feat.

Bloodstock Sales Manager Kane Jones commented on the success of the graduates who once graced the Karaka Sales Centre auditorium.

“It’s been a truly phenomenal season for New Zealand Bloodstock graduates, one for the history books.”

“We have absolutely dominated in Australia, winning everything from Group One sprints, Guineas, Oaks, and Derbys, through to quality middle-distance and staying events for the older horses.

“The results are undeniable and once again prove that Karaka is the best value sale in the world.

“Hong Kong is another incredibly important jurisdiction for us and to see two Ready to Run graduates Golden Sixty and Lucky Sweynesse excelling up there is incredibly exciting.

 “All roads should lead to Karaka this season to source the next champion,” remarked Jones.  

The next opportunity to secure a Group One winner at Karaka will be at this year’s NZB Ready to Run sale held at Karaka on 22 and 23 November, with the Breeze Ups conducted at Te Rapa Racecourse on 16 and 17 October. The catalogue is due online and in mailboxes in September.

Karaka 2024 will follow, where it is set to showcase the very best of yearlings with Book 1 commencing on 28 January followed immediately by Book 2 on 31 January.

Highlighting that week is the return of the newly rebranded TAB Karaka Millions Raceday set to be held on the eve of the Book 1 Sale, Saturday 27 January, where spectators can watch graduates compete for the $1m Karaka Millions 2YO race, $1.5m Karaka Millions 3YO race plus an open $1m 4YO mile race.

View the full list of NZB Group One-winning graduates from the 2022-23 season here.