Spectacular First-Starter Takes Lead on Road to TAB Karaka Millions 2YO

23 October 2023

Savaglee (NZ) (Savabeel). Photo: Race Images

The order of entry for the $1m TAB Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m) has a new leader after a spectacular debut performance by Savaglee (NZ) (Savabeel) in Saturday’s $40,000 Des Coppins Tips Service 2YO (900m) at Trentham.

The runaway victory earned $23,000 in prize-money for Savaglee, who now holds a clear lead on the TAB Karaka Millions 2YO standings. Fellow debut winners Bellatrix Star (NZ) (Star Witness), About Last Night (NZ) (Capitalist) and Poetic Champion (NZ) (Super Seth) all share second spot with $14,375 each.

Savaglee is trained by Mike Moroney and Pam Gerard, and the Savabeel colt arrived at Trentham on Saturday as a two-length winner of his only trial.

His performance on raceday debut on Saturday was another level above that, dominating the race from the front and powering clear down the straight to score by four lengths.

“He’s very professional, fast, and has done everything right so far as a two-year-old colt,” Gerard said. “We thought the race served as a nice option to get some coin in the bank, and also to give him a trip away.

“The footing came up ideal and he’s probably exceeded my expectations a bit in the way that he won. He hasn’t been off the bridle yet, so it’s pretty encouraging to see him win in that manner.

“We’ll work backwards from the Karaka Millions now. We’ll send him home for a week-long break at The Oaks Stud, but I think he’s the type of colt that will benefit by continuing to tick over, so we’ll plan a few more races for him.

“Keeping him ticking over is probably the best way to manage him, to help prevent him getting too coltish, and he’s a pretty fit and ready sort of horse.”

Savaglee was bred by Waikato Stud and is raced by The Oaks Stud, who bought him for $400,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2023.

The dam of Savaglee is Glee (NZ) (O’Reilly), who is a full-sister to two black-type placegetters and is a three-quarter-sister to the dam of triple Group One winner Daffodil (NZ) (No Excuse Needed).

The second placegetter in Saturday’s race at Trentham was fellow first-starter Sunrise (NZ) (Charm Spirit), who has moved into fifth place on the TAB Karaka Millions 2YO order of entry with $7,400 in stakes.

The increasingly exciting countdown to the TAB Karaka Millions 2YO will continue with another two juvenile races this coming Saturday. Pukekohe will stage an 1100-metre race with a stake of $45,000, while an 800-metre race will be run at Riccarton for $40,000.

The TAB Karaka Millions 2YO will be run at Ellerslie on January 27, as part of a blockbuster twilight programme that also features the $1.5m TAB Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m) and the inaugural running of the $1m Elsdon Park Aotearoa Classic 4YO (1600m).

View the Order of Entries here.