In strange times, City of Sails remains City of Sales

By Michael Guerin


Don’t expect anything like a normal standardbred yearling sale when the action kicks off at Karaka today.

Because while there will be the obvious differences of a far smaller crowd and no overseas visitors, both because of Covid, the usual reluctance to set the market may also not be there.

Harness racing sales can have notoriously slow starts, with some cagey buyers and plenty waiting to see when the first $80,000 to $100,000 lot falls, which often has the effect of setting the tone for what the more popular lots will fetch.

That looks unlikely to be the case on Sunday as the elite catalogue with only 131 babies has some juicy lots that should see bids flying even early.

Lot 1 is a Downbytheseaside colt from the Sixpence family while the next lot is the first Lazarus yearling to be sold in New Zealand a filly from the Tandias Courage family.

Then comes one of the highlights of the day in an Art Major half brother to Classie Brigade while the fourth lot through is a Sweet Lou colt the first foal from Jewels winner Utmost Delight.

With a brother to Its All About Faith and Thefixer and a Sweet Lou colt from Willow also among the first 10 lots the Karaka sale should start with a bang.

The overall catalogue is very strong with so much black type it must have cost more than usual to print.

Last season’s average of just over $50,000 will be threatened because quality aside, the sale is colt heavy, with 85 of them going through and overall there are 38 Bettors Delights.

New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred have been able to accommodate 300 potential buyers in pods of 100 to comply with the Covid regulations so domestically the Red Light settings shouldn’t greatly affect the market.

No Australians on the grounds could dampen competition which pushes particularly top lots even higher but most buyers at that end of the market tend to have established relationships with leading trainers and that, coupled with vastly improved video footage of the yearlings, should provide enough information for informed decisions.

The sales will be screened on, Freeview channel 200 and live streamed on New Zealand Bloodstock’s Facebook page.

The preview show starts at 11.30am with the first lot into the ring at noon.

Sales week then moves to Christchurch on Monday for three days of selling.


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