Big numbers on first day of Yearling Sales

By Michael Guerin

The first day of yearling sales week defied the challenges facing the harness racing industry when some big numbers were put up at the Karaka yearling sale on Sunday.

A buoyant mood and hot action of the top of the boutique catalogue saw an outstanding average even if the middle and lower market, as so often if the case at the sales, had its struggles.

The New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred sale was topped by a $300,000 filly (lot 74), a half sister by Captaintreacherous to Elle Mac, sold by Breckon Farms to Paul and Mary Kenny, co-owners of the north’s other standardbred breeding power house in Woodlands.

The leggy filly attracted heated action with at least five bidders still in play when she reached $200,000, with the Kennys landing the telling blow when they went from $285,000 straight to $300,000.

“She was a lovely filly and is the sort of new blood Mary wants to get into the broodmare band for her private breeding business Charles Joseph Ltd,” said Paul Kenny.

“Mary said the limit was $250,000 but I kept going. Would we have gone further? We will never know.”

A Captaintreacherous colt out of Elle Mac, so a very close relation, was the second top lot at $270,000 sold to Stonewall Stud, to be trained by the Telfer/Cullen partnership.

The sale ended with an average of over $61,000, rarefied air for a standardbred sale with last year’s Karaka average the only other time an average of over $60,000 has been recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.

A son of Captaintreacherous in Captain Crunch out of the Harness Jewels winning mare The Orange Agent, was the third top lot at $220,000 bought by Barry Purdon.

Four of the top five lots were sold by Breckon Bloodstock, whose draft averaged over $80,000 per lot.

So while Bettors Delight has been the King of Karaka for well over a decade the emergence of Captaintreacherous and Captain Crunch at the very top end of the market signalled the start to a new era as speed blood comes in over Christian Cullen and Bettors Delight mares.

The sale was strong at the top but with enough big stables missing out that they will have to try again later in the week, a promising sign for the two pacing-bred days in Christchurch.

There was also strong money for trotters straight out of the gate, with even the first lot going for $100,000, with a $145,000 Father Patrick out of Luby Lou the top trotting-bred lot at $145,000, again to Barry Purdon.

The clearance rate of 68 was down and indicated a softer middle to lower market, not unusual at standardbred sales where many of the biggest buyers end up chasing the same 10-15 lots.

The sales move to Christchurch told for a trotting-bred only sale before two days of sales for pacing bred yearlings on Tuesday and Wednesday.


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