The cream of New Zealand’s thoroughbred yearling crop will go under the hammer at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sales at Karaka this week, with the Book 1 sale to commence at 3pm on Sunday.
With 1,284 yearlings catalogued, a strong mix of both local and international buyers have been at the complex in recent days inspecting horses.
“The support we have had this year from major breeders in New Zealand has been exceptional – the best I can remember in a very long time,” New Zealand Bloodstock’s Managing Director Andrew Seabrook said.
“With fewer horses going to Australian yearling sales to be sold, there has definitely been an increase in the strength of the catalogues.”
The lucrative Karaka Million twilight race meeting at Ellerslie on Saturday ensures a vibrant start to the week, with two $1 million races for New Zealand Bloodstock graduates, while five of the six races on the card are stakes races.
Although last year’s sale was the highest by aggregate in a decade, vendor expectations remain cautious for this year’s edition.
Graduates of the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale enjoyed another strong year on the racetrack winning 120 stakes races and 18 at Group One level last season.
The New Zealand Sales have always been renowned as a quality sale at value for money and that extends beyond just the Book 1 catalogue, which numbers 698 well credentialed yearlings.
Book 2 graduates the ilk of the world’s best miler Beauty Generation and star three-year-old Madison County are prime examples of the value on offer. The pair were sold for $60,000 and $36,000 respectively.
Leading buyer David Ellis of Te Akau Racing is bullish about forthcoming changes in the New Zealand racing industry and has been impressed by the stock catalogued.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that from August 1 our stakes money in New Zealand will dramatically improve, so now is a really good time to invest,” Ellis said.
“I expect this sale to be a buyers’ market. The quality is as good as I’ve seen in 20 years. And don’t forget, we’re just a three-hour flight to Sydney and Melbourne and they are racing for $7, $10 and $15 million and we’re buying horses to win those races too.”
The Chittick family’s Waikato Stud has been the leading vendor by aggregate for the past five years and stock of their champion sire Savabeel will again appeal to a broad range of buyers, underpinning the sale.
Stud Principal Mark Chittick was also keen to point out that the economics of buying yearlings in New Zealand stacked up well given prizemoney in Australia has reached record levels.
“You can buy a really good horse for $120,000 at Karaka. In just over a year’s time when they’re racing, they can be running for more than $120,000 every Saturday in Sydney and Melbourne,” Chittick said.
“To me that makes sense and I think it is good business to buy these horses that are reared in probably the best environment in the world.”