Americans in love with Karaka's horses and hospitality

4 min read

By Michael Cox

Visitors looking to pin-hook horses out of Karaka into the Ready to Run Sale have not only found what they want in the sales ring, but have had plenty of fun in Auckland.

Some campaigning from New Zealand Bloodstock sales manager Danny Rolston ensured the American presence was felt during Book 1 at Karaka and the renowned hospitality – and of course quality horses – should ensure the visitors return next year.

"The horses are great but the hospitality is hard to beat," said Mike McMahon, while bloodstock agent Joe Miller added, "the people are friendly, the food is delicious and the wine is tremendous. We will be back, it is already on the calendar already for next year."

"We will be back, it is already on the calendar already for next year." - Bloodstock agent, Joe Miller

Wining, dining and socialising aside, the Americans were at Karaka for the serious business of buying horses, and buy they did.

Mike McMahon and Jamie Hill

McMahon came to Karaka looking for a point of difference to the speed-obsessed Australian sales.

"We came here to look for stamina horses, getting off the 2-year-old kick that everybody is on down here," he said. "We wanted to be a little bit contrarian and buy horses built for a mile-and-a-quarter plus."

McMahon bought Lot 433 by Darci Brahma for $120,000, a horse set to be trained by Stephen Marsh, along with two other purchases for Bourbon Lane Stable.

"Darci Brahma is a good New Zealand sire and a horse the Australians don't seem to respect as much but should be very good for here," McMahon said.

Watch: Lot 433 Darci Brahma (NZ) x Star Guest (NZ)

The agent believes Lot 92 by Sacred Falls is another stamina-laden "two-turn type", but McMahon couldn't resist Australasian speed when he paid NZ$45,000 for a son of El Roca (Lot 206).

"He looks a very fast type," McMahon said.

Miller teamed with countrymen Justin Casse, Hong Kong-based agent Sam Wright and Kiwi ready-to-run specialist Sam Beatson to secure Lot 194 by Rich Enuff.

"Rich Enuff is a first season sire but we thought he was one of the best physical specimens on the first day of the sale," Miller said. "He was just a big- strong, athletic colt, all those things that you want in a yearling here. It was a good one to breeze-up and should appeal to the Hong Kong market at the end of the day. We had great success pin-hooking for the Ready to Race Sale last year and we will try to do that again."

"Rich Enuff is a first season sire but we thought he was one of the best physical specimens on the first day of the sale." - Joe Miller

Joe Miller

Casse was active at the recent Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, teaming up Beatson's Riversley Park Bloodstock to buy a son of Pierro for $145,000 (lot 74) and going it alone on an Exceed And Excel for $80,000 (Lot 150).

As well as the Rich Enuff at Karaka, which Casse called "the best colt at the sale by type," he also bought into the $200,000 Lot 89 by top-selling sire Savabeel.

"We want a horse that can breeze well, but is bred to get further, obviously it's hard to find those things together but if you can, you can be rewarded pretty handsomely." - Justin Casse

"My job is to find horses I think will be precocious to breeze early," Casse said. "I think the great thing about here is that you can find those types, but they can still have some stamina. They may end up being miler types in time. I believe breeze-ups and ready-to-runs are the same all around the world. Buyers obviously want a horse that is going to breeze well, in decent time and moves well, but also be a horse that can win classics."

Watch: Lot 89 Savabeel x Iguazu's Girl (NZ)