Up-and-Comers Deliver Karaka Quinella in Gingernuts Salver

9 January 2023

Cruz Missile (NZ) leads a quinella of Karaka graduates in the Listed Barfoot & Thompson Gingernuts Salver (2100m). Photo: Trish Dunell.

Gingernuts (NZ) (Iffraaj) soared to stardom in the summer and autumn of his three-year-old season, and a promising pair of Karaka 2021 graduates could have the opportunity to follow a similar trajectory after filling the quinella in a race named in his honour. 

Sunday’s $80,000 Listed Barfoot & Thompson Gingernuts Salver (2100m) at Pukekohe produced a thrilling photo finish between the winner Cruz Missile (NZ) (Savabeel) and runner-up Devildom (NZ) (Almanzor). Bought from Book 1 of Karaka 2021 for $160,000 and $180,000 respectively, the rising star three-year-olds were both tackling a staying distance for the first time after dominant last-start maiden successes.

Their summer emergence has begun in a similar vein to that of Gingernuts, the $42,500 Ready to Run Sale purchase who rose to prominence with a spectacular sequence of wins for Te Akau Racing as a summer and autumn three-year-old – including the Group Two Avondale Guineas (2100m), Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m) and Group One Rosehill Guineas (2000m).

The New Zealand Derby at Te Rapa on March 4 was already firmly on the radar for both Cruz Missile and Devildom, and Sunday’s Gingernuts Salver did no harm to either gelding’s prospects.

It was Cruz Missile who came away with a deserved and highly impressive victory. After enjoying a comfortable run in third behind a slow pace, he was held in a pocket at a crucial stage rounding the home turn.

In the 100 metres it took for Cruz Missile and rider Michael McNab to find their way into clear air, Devildom had dived through along the inside and burst clear in what looked like a winning move.

But Cruz Missile regathered his momentum and came bounding down the outside with gigantic strides. Although Devildom was showing no sign of slowing down, Cruz Missile slowly but surely drew level and then lunged at the line to score by a long head.

Raced by Lib Petagna’s JML Bloodstock in partnership with Tony Joyce, breeder Jim Barlow and his cousin Max Brown, Cruz Missile has now had four starts for two wins, a placing and $56,640 in stakes.

“The first part of the race was great, he relaxed so beautifully,” trainer Stephen Marsh said. “It got a bit hairy coming into the straight, he was hemmed away and I was a bit worried.

“But he found a way out and he was very good to the line. I really loved the way he knuckled down late.

“It’s not long ago that he won a maiden mile. We’ve backed him up quickly from that today, so he’s got a fair bit ahead of him. I don’t see why he can’t be a Derby contender. He’s by Savabeel and has an absolutely outstanding temperament.

“We’ve got a couple of Guineas races to choose from between here and the Derby, so we’ll get him home and work it out as we go.”

Cruz Missile became the 129th individual stakes winner for Waikato Stud’s sensational sire Savabeel, who will be represented by 40 yearlings in Book 1 of Karaka 2023.

Meanwhile, runner-up Devildom has had four starts for a win, a placing and $23,200 in prizemoney.

Vendor Little Avondale Stud
Purchaser Bruce Perry Bloodstock (BAFNZ) (Wellington)
Breeding Savabeel – Cruz Control
Sale Lot 331, Karaka 2021 Book 1, $160,000
Bred by Barlow Thoroughbred