NZB’s Ready to Run Anticipation Sets In

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

- By Michael Guerin


In the days leading into a horse sale, the energy around the Sale Complex is often a crucial pointer to what lies ahead.


And while sales expert Danny Rolston admits that energy is different at Karaka leading into tomorrow’s Ready to Run sale, he says the New Zealand Bloodstock team have been pleasantly surprised. 


Rolston is the Bloodstock Sales Manager for NZB as they head into one of the trickiest ever sales, with no foreign buyers, trainers or agents able to attend the two-day event because of COVID restrictions on travel.


“It is obviously a very different sale on many levels and today [Tuesday] for example would usually be the day a lot of our clients from Asia would be arriving to check out the shortlists agents have put together for them,” explains Rolston.


“This year we don’t have that and with them missing we thought it might be a bit quieter but the sales ground has been really busy.”


“There have been a lot of local trainers here, agents and plenty of inspecting going on.”


“We have some South Island trainers flying here in the morning and I think there is an expectation from local trainers they could pick up horses cheaper than they would of in the past, which may well be right.”


With overseas trainers and buyers unable to travel, more weight has fallen on local agents to work with them and Rolston says NZB are surprised how receptive most trainers have been to that.


“I was talking to one of the leading Australian trainers the other day who summed it up: This is how things are from now on, for at least a while,” says Rolston.


“Trainers still have orders for horses so they will still buy. But we are not underselling how challenging this has been for everybody.”


“With the possibility of having at least some travel restrictions in place for our yearling sales in January, how this sale is conducted and how buyers react to the new normal will be a big guide to what may lay ahead.”


NZB has enormously upgraded their online buying section of their website while vendors have lifted their game in engaging potential buyers with more videos and information.


The local agents, among some of the most respected in the world, have played their role too and many have been busy.

After withdrawals, which are always heavier at Ready to Run sales, around 250 horses will go through the ring in the next two days and importantly the sale appears to have a strong start.


“There are some really nice horses early, which is great because buyers can be cautious early at these sales to get a guide on the market,” says Rolston.


The Breeze Ups at Te Rapa last month saw some quality performances and the catalogue has an enormous array of stallions represented, with plenty of pinhooked Australian blood mixing with the domestic-bred potential Guineas and Classic horses.