Velocious Makes Her Mark in Road to Karaka Millions 2YO

27 November 2023

Velocious (NZ) 

Saturday’s $110,000 Listed Counties Challenge Stakes (1100m) was always going to have a major impact on the order of entry for the $1m TAB Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m), and a spectacular performance by undefeated filly Velocious (Written Tycoon) has put her connections in pole position for the blockbuster sprint at Ellerslie on January 27.

Trained by Stephen Marsh for syndicators Go Racing, Velocious improved her perfect record to two-from-two with a powerful come-from-behind win against a super-talented field at Pukekohe. It was the first stakes race of the season for two-year-olds in New Zealand, and it raised her career earnings to $86,250 – giving her a clear lead on the order of entry for the TAB Karaka Millions 2YO.

Marsh and Go Racing have been in this position before, going on a Karaka Million-winning ride with Ruud Awakening (Bernardini) in 2013. That top-class filly won five races and more than $720,000 during an all-conquering juvenile campaign that earned her the honour of New Zealand’s champion two-year-old that season.

“You’d have to start thinking about the Ruud Awakening comparisons after that performance (by Velocious),” Marsh said. “That was smart – very smart.

“She can have a little break now and we’ll just set her for the Karaka Millions. She’s beautifully bred and a stakes winner now, so it’s all ahead of her.

“She’ll have another run between now and then, but whether that’s New Year’s Day or somewhere else, we’ll decide a bit closer to the time. As long as we get her to the Karaka Millions in tip-top form, we’ll be all right.”

Ending up in this position was no accident for Go Racing, who secured the Inglewood Stud-bred Velocious for $190,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2023.

“Though the last decade or so, we’ve focused quite a lot on getting staying types of horses to race in Australia,” Go Racing manager Albert Bosma said. “We had a chat last year and said that we needed to try to buy horses for the Karaka Millions as well. This filly was one of the ones that we bought, and what she’s done so far is great for everyone involved.

“It’s been a fantastic effort from Stephen Marsh. He trained Ruud Awakening for us all those years ago, and we can’t wait to see if he can do it again.

“It’s very exciting to have such a live chance for the Karaka Millions. That’s our biggest raceday, with three of our biggest races on one card. If you can perform on that stage, I don’t think you can do much better than that in New Zealand.”

Saturday’s Counties Challenge Stakes runner-up Bellatrix Star (Star Witness) has moved into second place on the order of entry with $38,325.

So Naive (NZ) (U S Navy Flag) sits in third place on $25,875, with Savaglee (NZ) (Savabeel) on $25,750 and Poetic Champion (NZ) (Super Seth) on $24,275.

The next opportunity to make a move up those standings will be a $40,000 race at Otaki this Thursday, followed by a $25,000 maiden two-year-old race at Te Rapa two days later.

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).