Australian Thoroughbred

A-Z of Australian Horse Racing and Breeding.

Potent Buying Bench Fuels Day 1 of Karaka Premier Sale
Monday, Jan 25, 2016

Photo: Lot 200 fetched today's top price of $775,000.

A diverse buying bench fuelled increases to key figures on the first day of the two-day Karaka Premier Sale.To view the Day One Highlights Video, click here.

Buyers from five countries featured with purchases in the top 10 lots of the Sale with New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Japan and China all spending at least $450,000 on a single horse.

International buyers made their presence felt, accounting for 67% of the spend. Australia was the leading buying bench overall with 75 horses purchased for total receipts of $12,785,000. Other countries active at the Sale include Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, Japan, Macau, Netherlands, United Kingdom, USA, South Africa and Malaysia.

Domestic buyers held their own against the strong international presence, spending $9,332,500 on 56 horses, placing New Zealand second only to Australia.

With 230 lots catalogued on Day One, all figures are tracking better than at the same point last year with an equal number of horses catalogued.

Strong competition drove the average price of the Sale to $177,832, an increase of 22% from last year’s figure of $145,866 on Day One. The median also rose dramatically, ending the day at $150,000, which is greater than the average price of last year’s Day One figure, and an increase of 36% from $110,000 last year.

After Day One, the aggregate of the Sale is $28,097,500 with 158 horses sold, up from last year’s aggregate of $22,317,500, an increase of 26%. These results were achieved with a clearance rate of 76%, up from 74% on Day One last year.

There were 27 horses sold for $300,000 or more today, nearly double last year’s number of 14 on the first day of selling.

“There was a great atmosphere around the sale grounds today with plenty of interest from buyers, the general public and a hive of media,” commented Andrew Seabrook, Managing Director of NZB. “To achieve the results we have seen today is very encouraging. All of our key figures have increased with strong competition across the board.

“To have a median price higher than the average price of last year at the same point of the Sale is a great feat, it shows the depth of the catalogue is strong and there is confidence in New Zealand thoroughbreds.

“The international buying bench has been very strong as shown by the number of our top lots heading to buyers from different parts of the globe. However, the leading buyer was New Zealand’s David Ellis who has been the biggest buyer at Karaka for the past 10 years.”

The highest price of the day came at Lot 200 with David Ellis of Te Akau Racing going to $775,000 to secure the colt by Savabeel out of Bling (O’Reilly), a full-brother to Group 1 winner Diademe. The colt is now the highest priced horse ever sold by Waikato Stud, the leading vendor at the Premier Sale for the past two years.

“This Savabeel colt is quite outstanding, he is one that Te Akau had on the must-have list and to get what you want sometimes you have to exceed your budget,” commented Ellis.

“It has been a very successful sale so far with very strong prices. There have been a number of bidding duels on the good horses and I’ve found it difficult to buy this year as the international buying bench has been so strong.”

Ellis has currently purchased the most horses at the Sale having bought 12 yearlings for $3,207,500. He is on track to be the leading buyer for a record 11th consecutive year. He also purchased the third highest priced lot of the day, going to $460,000 for Lot 151, a colt by Tavistock out of Zabeel mare Zsa Zsa Gabeel from Cambridge Stud.

Action early in the day saw Lot 29 purchased for $550,000 by Irish bloodstock agent Hubie de Burgh from Windsor Park Stud.  The colt by Savabeel out of Queen of Avalon (Montjeu) was the second highest price of the day and was a sign of things to come from the international buying bench.

Four horses were knocked down for $450,000 including Lot 113, a white filly by High Chaparral out of The Opera House (Zabeel) from Windsor Park Stud that attracted a large crowd as she went through the ring due to her unusual colour. She was purchased by Hideo Takadaru of the Dearest Club from Japan who was at Karaka for the first time and specifically came to New Zealand to buy the white filly.

Mr Lang Lin of the Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Group purchased his first horses at the National Yearling Sales Series having predominantly bought at the NZB Ready to Run Sale. His purchases included Lot 169, a colt by Fastnet Rock out of Amazing Beauty (Galileo) from Curraghmore for $450,000.

The other two horses to sell for $450,000 were purchased by Australian buyers with Anthony Mithen of Rosemont Stud purchasing Lot 85, an Exceed and Excel colt out of Special Diamond (Zabeel) from Cambridge Stud, and McEvoy Mitchell Racing paying the same amount for Lot 203, a colt by High Chaparral out of Bombay (Encosta de Lago) from Curraghmore.

The leading sire by average with three or more horses sold was Savabeel with 22 horses sold at an average of $252,045, including the top lot of the day. He finished just ahead of fellow kiwi sire Tavistock who had nine horses sell at an average of $249,444. Following that pair was Fastnet Rock, the leading sire at the Premier Sale for the past five years, with six horses sold at an average of $247,500.

Reliable Man was the leading first season sire by average with three or more horses sold with eight horses selling at an average of $199,375. He finished in front of Pierro who had four horses sell at an average of $168,750, just ahead of Ocean Park who had 13 horses sell at an average of $167,308.

The leading vendor by aggregate was Waikato Stud, the leading vendor for the past two years at Karaka, with 21 horses sold for $4,325,000.

Curraghmore is the leading vendor by average with nine horses sold at an average of $242,778, including two horses for $450,000.

Selling continues with Day Two of the Premier Sale tomorrow from 11am (from Lot 231) with coverage continuing live on Trackside and also online at To view the passed in Lots from today, click here.