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Royal result for pinhooker on bumper day at Karaka

12 min read
Finbarr Leahy was in pinhooker's paradise at Karaka on Tuesday when his son of the late Sacred Falls (NZ) sold as Lot 54 for NZ$525,000 to top an uplifting opening session of New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready to Run Sale.

At A Glance

Pinhooker Finbarr Leahy turned an NZ$80,000 investment 10 months ago in a Sacred Falls colt into a Sale-topping NZ$525,000 with the Riversley Park-offered lot knocked down to trainer Graham Richardson.

Savabeel fan Trent Busuttin went to NZ$400,000 for a colt by Waikato Stud’s champion stallion offered by Ohukia Lodge.

Top result for the Harvey family when a Reliable Man (GB) gelding bought on Gavelhouse last year for NZ$5100 was sold to Hong Kong trainer Francis Lui for NZ$230,000.

Of the 160 lots catalogued, 82 sold at a clearance rate of 69 per cent for NZ$7,615,500 at an average of NZ$92,872 and a median of NZ$51,250.

Twelve months ago, turnover closed at NZ$10,789,500 for 112 horses sold at an average of NZ$96,335 and a clearance rate of 63 per cent.

45 per cent of turnover on Tuesday came from international buyers via the online platform with strong participation from Australia, Hong Kong and Macau.

Roaring start to RTR Sale

With results only habitual longshot backers would have forecast, Day 1 of NZB’s Ready to Run Sale turned back the COVID-19 tide, although Bloodstock Sales Manager Danny Rolston was reining in his delight with the job only half done.

“We’ve still got another 150-odd horses to get through on Thursday so the show isn’t over yet. We’ve had a great start, but there’s still plenty of work to get through,” he said.

Of the 160 lots catalogued, 82 sold at a clearance rate of 69 per cent for NZ$7,615,500 at an average of NZ$92,872 and a median of NZ$51,250.

For Finbarr Leahy it was a life-changing few minutes on Wednesday when the Sacred Falls colt he bought out of Cambridge Stud’s yearling draft at Karaka earlier this year for NZ$80,000 sold to Matamata trainer Graham Richardson for NZ$525,000 on behalf of Hong Kong interests.

The Cambridge-based Leahy, a former Grand National Steeplechase-winning jockey turned trainer, offered his 2-year-old bred by The Whitby Bloodstock Trust through the draft of Sam Beatson’s Riversley Park.

Finbarr Leahy

“It’s unbelievable and I never thought he would get that,” Leahy said. “I knew he was popular and the bidding was creeping up and I thought where is this going?

“I had hoped he might get NZ$300,000 as he was in and out of his box an awful lot. I knew lots of people were on him in the ring and then I just didn’t know where it was going to end.

“It was just fantastic and it’s going to take a while to sink in, it’s life-changing.

“It was just fantastic and it’s going to take a while to sink in, it’s life-changing.” – Finbarr Leahy

“It’s a big thanks to Riversley Park, they do a great job and are a great team and it all adds up, that’s why they always do well at these sales.”

Leahy, who won the 2003 Grand National aboard Cuchulainn (NZ) (Pat’s Victory {USA}), had also put his inside knowledge of the colt’s family to use when he bought the youngster in January.

“I was lucky enough to train his full brother Viva Chef and Gary Carvill sent him to me. He won a trial before he went to Hong Kong so he’s a lot of the reason I ended up buying this one,” said the Irishman, who is now a permanent New Zealand resident.

“I loved Viva Chef and, to me, this horse was lengths in front of him.”

“I loved Viva Chef and, to me, this horse was lengths in front of him.” – Finbarr Leahy

Viva Chef (NZ) (Sacred Falls {NZ}) recently won his first race in Hong Kong earlier this month and a half-brother Shining On (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}) was successful on the same program for the third victory of his career.

A half-brother to the Listed Castletown S. winner Stella Di Paco (NZ) (Paco Boy {Ire}), the son of Sacred Falls is out of Savabeel Star (NZ) (Savabeel) and she is a half-sister to the G3 Hawke’s Bay Guineas winner Stardane (NZ) (Soviet Star {USA}).

“He was bought for a very private client from Hong Kong. Sacred Falls is flying and it’s a shame that he’s passed, they are nice, athletic horses,” said Richardson, who noted the strength at the top end of the market.

“I’m absolutely chuffed for New Zealand Bloodstock and the vendors. I love buying horses at this Sale and have done for years and had a lot of luck. There’s always a horse here for everyone.”

Apprehensive approach

NZB Bloodstock Sales Manager Danny Rolston wasn’t getting ahead of himself before the first lot went under the hammer, despite strong pre-Sale indicators.

“Over the last couple of days the inquiries and the registrations for the online bidding had been nothing short of unbelievable,” Rolston said.

“It all came to fruition, but you still get nervous because you worry that all the buyers may land on the same horses, but it spread around nicely.”

Danny Rolston

Rolston put much of the first day success down to the behind the scenes work of the New Zealand Bloodstock staff.

“It was a satisfying day and I'm bloody proud of our team. This doesn’t just happen and while we’re surprised by the results, it’s not a fluke.

“The success of the Sale and the regard it’s held in is down to our team and not just our team in New Zealand. We’ve got people in Australia, the United States and Asia and they are all a major part of it.

“The success of the Sale and the regard it’s held in is down to our team and not just our team in New Zealand." - Danny Rolston

“We got quietly confident, and when I say confident we were relaxed it wasn’t going to be a disaster like it was potentially shaping up to be due to obvious circumstances,” he said.

“The domestic participation was great through the likes of Graham Richardson, Gary Harding and Te Akau were active and so was Roger James so it’s been great.

“It was probably a relief to vendors and it was nice be around that vendor box and see a bit of joy, probably not what we were anticipating.”

Andrew Seabrook

NZB Managing Director Andrew Seabrook was thrilled with the reception of NZB’s new digital platform.

“We were cautiously optimistic heading into today, although the response to our online bidding platform has exceeded our expectations,” he said.

“Forty-five percent of today’s total turnover was secured from our international buyers using the platform, with strong participation from Australia, Hong Kong and Macau leading the way,” he said.

Rich praise from Ellis

Te Akau Principal David Ellis, who was the second leading buyer 12 months ago with a NZ$1,372,500 spend on eight lots, was effusive in his praise of the host company at the close of Day 1.

“I think everyone on the sale ground is in awe of New Zealand Bloodstock and the way they have handled the COVID-19 situation and how well the Sale has gone,” Te Akau Principal David Ellis said.

“The day started with a NZ$320,000 sale and I think it’s gone on to exceed everybody’s expectations. For a Ready to Run Sale, the clearance rates have been as good as ever.”

Watch: Lot 51 breeze-up

Ellis purchased three 2-year-olds on the opening day going to NZ$80,000 for Lot 51, a son of Turn Me Loose (NZ) from the family of the dual Group 1 winner Mr Quickie (Shamus Award) from Woburn Farm’s draft.

He matched that price for Lot 65, a Belardo (Ire) colt presented by Lilywhite Lodge with the Group 1-winning mother and daughter combination of Fun On The Run (NZ) (Racing Is Fun {USA}) and Tall Story (NZ) (Kaapstad {NZ}) featuring on the pedigree page.

Ellis’ other acquisition was Lot 57, a son of Shooting To Win bought out of Riverrock Farms’ draft for NZ$40,000. The third dam is the five-time North American Group 1 winner It’s In The Air (USA) (Mr Prospector {USA}).

Busuttin won over again

Trent Busuttin is a major fan of the progeny of Savabeel and he made an early and successful online play for a son of Waikato Stud’s champion sire when he secured Lot 3 for NZ$400,000 out of Ohukia Lodge’s draft.

The Cranbourne horseman, who trains with his partner Natalie Young, admitted he was running on empty at the end of a spirited bidding battle for the colt and was delighted to have the final say.

“I thought he would go for around NZ$400,000 and that was my last bid. Coming so early in the Sale usually helps for a bit of a discount and I don’t know whether that was the case and I’m just happy to get him,” Busuttin said.

“This Sale is obviously a bit different and we look at the breeze-ups ourselves and get them vetted and we have one or two people helping us on the ground.

“A good client of ours from Hong Kong, Ben Kwok, is a big supporter of the New Zealand industry and he has taken a significant chunk in this colt and we’ll syndicate the rest.”

Lot 3 - Savabeel x On Broadway (NZ) (colt)

It was no surprise Busuttin targeted the colt as he has enjoyed outstanding success with the stock of Savabeel and most notably with the multiple Group 1 winner Sangster (NZ).

Ohukia Principal Jamie Beatson was thrilled at the result with the sale price in line with expectations, although he did amount to a measure of pre-Sale apprehension.

“We’re over the moon, just rapt with that, but he is a lovely horse and there had been plenty of interest in him,” he said.

“We’re over the moon, just rapt with that, but he is a lovely horse and there had been plenty of interest in him.” – Jamie Beatson

“He’s going to a good home and we’re looking forward to him hitting the track.

“COVID-19 puts a bit of doubt in your mind as to what they may pay for the horses, but we’re happy with the price all things considered.

“It’s tough times, but quality always sells. We obviously paid a bit for him as a yearling and he’s developed into a really good colt."

Beatson purchased the youngster out of breeder Waikato Stud’s draft at the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale earlier this year for NZ$220,000.

He is a son of the unraced Pins mare On Broadway (NZ), who is a sister to the seven-time winner and G3 McNeil S. runner-up Pins On Parade (NZ) and the stakes performer Dower (NZ). She is the dam of the three-time Listed winner and G1 VRC Oaks runner-up Dowager Queen (NZ) (Savabeel).

It is also the family of the G1 Patinack Classic winner Swick (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}) and the family of the G1 Western Australian Oaks winner Cologne (NZ) (Sound Reason {Can}).

Plan B pays off

All’s well that ends well for James Chapman’s Jamieson Park with Plan B netting NZ$320,000 for its Not A Single Doubt colt, Lot 2, with prominent Waikato-based owner Gary Harding signing the docket.

“It was a good result, it’s always a bit hard to know what’s going to happen when they go through the ring so early,” Jamieson Manager Sam Munro said. “It was around the money we were expecting him to fetch.

“He was to have gone to the Inglis Sydney Easter Yearling Sale, but of course he couldn’t due to COVID-19. He’s pretty typical of his sire, a short-coupled and athletic horse with a good attitude.”

The colt is the first foal of the black type performer O’Naturelle (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}), a daughter of the G2 Matamata Breeders’ S. winner Naturo (NZ) (Postponed {USA}).

Further back in the pedigree are the Group 1 winners Sweet Idea (Snitzel), Electronic (NZ) (First Norman {USA}), Booming (NZ) (Don Eduardo {NZ}) and the G2 PB Lawrence S. winner and sire Showtime.

Watch: Lot 2 breeze-up

“I loved the colt, but I didn't like the price. Originally, I wasn't going to attend the Sale, but I started to get itchy feet and as my stocks were getting a bit depleted I decided to get here,” Harding said.

“We've bought a lot of yearlings here, but this is my first ever Ready to Run purchase. He is very well balanced and the page is good. We will try him here first and if he shows us anything we will look at Australia.”

Harding later went to NZ$270,000 for a daughter of Reliable Man (GB), Lot 125, consigned by Westbury Stud. The grey filly is a half-sister to the Listed Dequetteville S. runner-up Wroclaw (Bog Brown {USA}) with their dam the winning Redoute’s Choice mare Zuzela.

Shining result

Regal Farm’s sole offering on Day 1 of the Sale provided a satisfying result when its son of Headwater, Lot 32, sold to Graham Richardson Racing for NZ$300,000.

“It’s a fantastic result for our client and he was a lovely colt and it’s not really any surprise,” Shane Crawford said.

An $80,000 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale buy out of Vinery Stud’s draft by the Thoroughbred Union of Queensland, the colt is out of Raischek (Mossman), a sister to the G3 SAJC Sires’ Produce S. winner Stirling Grove and the family of the G1 Emirates S. winner Hucklebuck (Elvstroem).

While more than satisfied with the sale result, Crawford said the current times had meant they had gone the extra miles to reap the reward.

“We’ve spent a lot more time speaking on the phone and a lot more time doing photos and videos, but it’s been worth it.”

Outstanding outcome

Another stunning family result was played out when Lot 120, a Reliable Man (GB) gelding bought on Gavelhouse last year for NZ$5100 was sold to Hong Kong trainer Francis Lui for NZ$230,000.

He was purchased by Cambridge couple Bruce and Maureen Harvey, of Ascot Farm, and prepared for the Sale by their son Glen, who operates Roysyn Stables.

Lot 120 - Reliable Man (GB) x Ziffel (NZ) (gelding)

“You can get it right sometimes. We always look through every sale and he was being sold by Cambridge Stud so we went out and saw him. They assured us it was a genuine sale and he didn’t have any problems,” Bruce Harvey said.

“You can have every confidence buying from a nursery like that. He developed into a lovely 2-year-old and breezed-up well and from a strong family.”

The gelding is a son of Ziffel (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}), who is a half-sister to the G2 Silver Slipper S. winner Amelia’s Dream (Redoute’s Choice) with the G1 BMW S. winner Grand Zulu (Grand Lodge {USA}) also on the pedigree page.

Top lots

54Sacred FallsSavabeel StarColtRiversley Park LtdRichardson Racing – Hong KongNZ$525,00010.77
3SavabeelOn BroadwayColtOhukia Lodge LtdBusuttin / Young Racing – VictoriaNZ$400,00010.52
2Not A Single DoubtO'NaturelleColtJamieson ParkMr GE Harding – WaikatoNZ$320,00010.49
32HeadwaterRaischekColtRegal FarmRichardson Racing – Hong KongNZ$300,00011.07
125Reliable ManZuzelaFillyWestbury StudMr GE Harding – WaikatoNZ$270,00010.63
70HinchinbrookSkyerushColtOhukia Lodge LtdMr KM Chan – Hong KongNZ$230,00010.79
120Reliable ManZiffelGeldingRoysyn StablesMr F Lui – Hong KongNZ$230,00010.77
38No Nay NeverRenounceableColtRiversley Park LtdMr R Yiu – Hong KongNZ$220,00010.51
95DundeelTralee ChorusColtOhukia Lodge LtdBusuttin / Young Racing – VictoriaNZ$220,00010.39
117Deep FieldXena ExpressColtRiversley Park LtdMr Colin Chu – Hong KongNZ$220,00010.5

Buyers by aggregate

Richardson Racing – Hong KongNZ$925,000NZ$525,000
Busuttin / Young Racing – Victoria NZ$792,500NZ$400,000
Mr GE Harding – WaikatoNZ$590,000NZ$320,000
Mr R Yiu – Hong KongNZ$540,000NZ$220,000
Phill Cataldo Bloodstock (BAFNZ) – VictoriaNZ$305,000NZ$150,000
Mr KM Chan – Hong Kong NZ$230,000NZ$230,000
Mr Colin Chu – Hong Kong NZ$220,000NZ$220,000
Cameron Cooke Bloodstock – Victoria NZ$215,000NZ$110,000
Macau Jockey Club – Macau NZ$210,000NZ$90,000
Mr DC Ellis – Te Akau NZ$200,000NZ$80,000

Top vendors by aggregate

Riversley Park Ltd12NZ$2,105,000NZ$175,416
Westbury Stud21NZ$1,080,000NZ$51,428
Ohukia Lodge Ltd7NZ$1,060,000NZ$151,428
Prima Park10NZ$813,500NZ$81,350
Woburn Farm6NZ$605,000NZ$100,833
Lilywhites Lodge9NZ$518,000NZ$57,555
Kilgravin Lodge10NZ$516,500NZ$57,388
Regal Farm3NZ$385,000NZ$128,333
Riverrock Farm5NZ$322,500NZ$64,500
Jamieson Park1NZ$320,000NZ$320,000

Top vendors by average (3 or more sold)

Riversley Park Ltd12NZ$175,416NZ$2,105,000
Ohukia Lodge Ltd7NZ$151,428NZ$1,060,000
Regal Farm3NZ$128,333NZ$385,000
Woburn Farm6NZ$100,833NZ$605,000
Prima Park10NZ$81,350NZ$813,500
Riverrock Farm5NZ$64,500NZ$322,500
Cheltenham Stables3NZ$60,000NZ$180,000
Lilywhites Lodge9NZ$57,555NZ$518,000
Kilgravin Lodge10NZ$57,388NZ$516,500
Westbury Stud21NZ$51,428NZ$1,080,000

Top sires by aggregate

Reliable ManNZ$751,000NZ$83,444
Per IncantoNZ$607,500NZ$121,500
Sacred FallsNZ$525,000NZ$525,000
El RocaNZ$357,500NZ$51,071
Not A Single DoubtNZ$320,000NZ$320,000

Top sires by average (2 or more sold)

Per IncantoNZ$121,500NZ$607,500
Swiss AceNZ$115,000NZ$230,000
Charm SpiritNZ$101,250NZ$202,500
Reliable ManNZ$83,444NZ$751,000