Saturday Stakes Winners Enter Karaka Millions 3YO Picture

31 October 2023

Impendabelle (NZ) took out the G2 Soliloquy Stakes

With impressive black-type performances at Pukekohe and Riccarton on Saturday, a pair of talented three-year-olds who are eligible for the $1.5m TAB Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m) have made a move up the pecking order of their age group.

Impendabelle (Impending) added Saturday’s Group Two Jamieson Park Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe to her victory in the Group Two Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) as a two-year-old last season, while Burn To Shine (NZ) (So You Think) capped a series of stakes placings with a deserved win in Riccarton’s Group Two War Decree Stakes (1600m).

Impendabelle and Burn To Shine now both have a rating of 74, which puts them in equal third place on the order of entry for the TAB Karaka Millions 3YO. They share that spot with Lantern Way (NZ) (Satono Aladdin), who won last month’s Group Two Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) before placing in the War Decree Stakes.

The first two positions on the order of entry are taken up by proven Group performers from the powerful stable of Te Akau trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson – Tokyo Tycoon (NZ) (Satono Aladdin), whose rating is 80, and Zourion (NZ) (Zoustar), who has a rating of 75.

Both Impendabelle and Burn To Shine are held in high regard by their connections, who were delighted to see them capture their feature wins over the weekend. Their immediate targets are now Group One classics at Riccarton in November – the New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) and New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) respectively – but if all continues to go to plan, the $1.5m purse of the TAB Karaka Millions 3YO will then be an attractive summer target.

Impendabelle is trained by Tony Pike, who was relieved to see the filly turn her fortunes around after a luckless seventh in last month’s Group Three Gold Trail Stakes (1200m).

“She’s really had no luck at all this spring, and it looked like she might not get any today either,” Pike said on Saturday. “I thought she’d have a nice run following the leader, but she ended up being left alone in front and started to race a bit greenly. But she fought it out well and it was good to see her get the win. She deserved that.

“She’s a really relaxed filly, so I don’t expect the step up to 1600 metres to trouble her. She ran the race out strongly today in a performance that looked a bit better to me than the margin might suggest.”

Burn to Shine
Burn to Shine (NZ) took out the G3 War Decree Stakes

Impendabelle contested the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) last season, finishing a close and creditable fifth. She was bought by Brewers Bloodstock for $80,000 from Hallmark Stud’s draft in Book 1 of Karaka 2022, and she has earned $230,025 in stakes from a seven-start career.

Stephen Marsh trains Burn To Shine for owner-breeders The Oaks Stud. Passed in at Karaka 2022, he has banked $128,390 from six starts so far.

“It was a very good win and one he deserved – he has been going cracking races,” Marsh said. “We train this one for The Oaks Stud, who are very big supporters of the stable, so it is great to get a win like that for them and repay the faith they have in us.

“We know now he gets a good mile, which will stand him in good stead for what comes next.”

The TAB’s market for the Karaka Millions 3YO has Tokyo Tycoon as a $3.50 favourite, attempting to join the great Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel) as only the second horse to be a Karaka Millions winner at the ages of both two and three.

Last-start Group Two placegetter Lupo Solitario (NZ) (Satono Aladdin) is the second favourite at $5, with the unbeaten Gold Trail Stakes winner Quintessa (NZ) (Shamus Award) at $8.

Following Saturday’s stylish victories, Impendabelle has moved up to $14, with Burn To Shine at $21.

The TAB Karaka Millions 3YO will be run at Ellerslie on January 27, as part of a blockbuster twilight programme that also features the $1m TAB Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m) and the inaugural running of the $1m Elsdon Park Aotearoa Classic 4YO (1600m).