NZBS host their first sales today

By Michael Guerin

New Zealand Bloodstock look to be getting into the standardbred business at the right time.

 The auction house which has taken New Zealand thoroughbreds to the world hold their first yearling sales for harness horses at their famed Karaka grounds today after launching NZBS last year.

That put them in direct competition with long-time standardbred sales company PGG Wrightson and the competition didn’t last long, with every major vendor in the country supporting NZBS.

 They are set to be rewarded with a larger financial contribution to the Sales Series programme and a return of the Ready to Run sale in October and better financing rates for pin-hookers, which looks set to be a  popular option for young trainers in particular.

 They are icing on the cake though and the real reasons for optimism heading into today’s sale and the two days in Christchurch which follow are the basic fundamentals — supply and demand and high quality stock.

 The standardbred breeding industry is shrinking but the demand for the product in Australia and a return of the North American market means there are less horses but more people wanting them.

Add that to increasing stakes domestically, headlined by Alexandra Park, and there will be no shortage of people wanting good horses.

 With today’s catalogue full of stock by sales legend Bettors Delight, his regular support cast of stallions like Art Major, American Ideal, Somebeachsomewhere and newcomers like Sweet Lou and Captaintreacherous, the pacing stallions on show are the equal of any where in the world.

 But even more importantly the drafts on offer today have won race reviews from the right people.

 Champion trainer Mark Purdon told the Herald the standard of yearling he has seen in the north this summer at the best he has ever viewed while vendors, even away from powerhouses like Woodlands and Breckon Farms, say they have had more visitors and paraded their horses more often than in recent years.

 NZBS boss Andrew Seabrook says while today is a launching pad for the company into the standardbred industry they have big plans, including dreams of boosting the glamour sales series races to $500,000 in years to come.

 After the runaway success of the Karaka Million thoroughbred meeting, such claims will be music to the ears of harness breeders.

 There will still be bargains at Karaka today, although they are usually more easily found at the larger Canterbury sale, and there will still be disappointed vendors, that is the nature of any horse sale.

 But with the horses available, the interest from overseas and a pin-hooking market to help boost the lower end, NZBS’s first real day at the office should prove a success.

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