Mick Guerin previews the Yearling Sales

Monday: Karaka sale, first lot at 11am, coverage starts at 10.45am.

Tuesday: Parade and then all-trotters sale in Christchurch starting at 4pm.

Wednesday: Pacing sale starting at 11am.

Watch: All sales will be shown live on Freeview Channel 200 as well as www.nzbstandardbred.co.nz


By Michael Guerin


The goods news for vendors at the Karaka standardbred sale on Monday is that even when the Kiwis have been losing this summer, they have been winning.

 Harness racing’s sales week starts with a parade at Karaka tomorrow before the northern sale on Monday followed by two days of selling in Christchurch.

 It will be the second year of harness sales for New Zealand Bloodstock since they opened their standardbred division and quickly cornered the market, winning rave reviews last year for their promotion and the streamlining of the sales series payments for what is now known as the Harness Millions.

 But why they were still getting their feet under the table last season, NZBS has had longer to prepare for next week’s sales and as they did with the recent thoroughbred sales they have heavily targeted the Australian market.

 And they have had plenty of help on the racetrack.

Kiwi-bred horses have dominated every facet of Australian harness racing in the last 12 months, even when our best have not turned up or even been beaten.

 New Zealand quinellaed the Miracle Mile last season, had great success at the Breeders Crown with a smaller than usual team and even though many of the big guns were beaten at the recent Victorian carnival still almost every major race was won by if not a New Zealand-trained horse, one bred and often raced here before being sold.

 Even when Australian-trained horses won the Hunter Cup (King Of Swing) and the Great Southern Star (Tornado Valley) at Melton two weeks ago, both started their careers here so are an equine advertisement for our breeders superiority.

New Zealand-bred horses won 64 group one races in Australia alone last season.

  Even the most bias Australian harness racing fan only has to scan their local fields, particularly the better races, to see the NZ attached to so many names to realise why so many Australian trainers, and many of their biggest-spending owners, will be coming to New Zealand tomorrow.

 “We have definitely targeted that market and I am confident there will be even more Australians here than last year,” says NZBS boss Andrew Seabrook.

 “The results our horses have recorded in Australia have been incredible, and that is right across the spectrum from young horses to the Cups and Inter Dominions and of course the Miracle Mile.

 “But we also have a few potential buyers coming from North America, who has tended to be more of a market for going horses rather than yearlings but that interest is there this year too.

“We have also had record numbers of local trainers out on our yearling tours so we are expecting strong domestic interest.

“And we are thrilled to have every horse for sale to be shown live on Freeview Channel 200 as well as online, which is a huge assistance for buyers who can’t be there all three days.”
 The quality of stock won’t be a problem, with sales and racetrack king Bettors Delight leading the world class stallions on show while over 90 lots offered this week are either out of group race winning dams or dams who have left group race winners.

The mild winter and brilliant summer of the last few months have been perfect horse growing weather and reports from our leading trainers suggest their are plenty of well-developed yearlings while some of the lesser commercial families that were hanging on a decade ago have disappeared from the catalogue.

 While repeating last year’s huge results at Karaka would be a win, bettering them may be difficult because it was so strong.

 But the standardbred industry looks in for a good week.


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