Big-spending David Ellis lands Melody Belle’s half-sister for NZ$900,000
Te Akau boss makes filly highest prived lot on day three at Karaka
The half-sister to Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes and Karaka Million winner Melody Belle is heading to the Te Akau Racing stable after being bought for NZ$900,000 (£467,000/€531,000) at the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Yearling Sale on Tuesday.
The highest-priced lot on the third day of the sale, a filly by Redoute's Choice sire Not A Single Doubt, was purchased by the sale's leading buyer David Ellis, who has his sights set on the horse repeating the feats of her older half-sister.
Ellis made a bold opening bid of NZ$800,000 for the filly before one counter bid of NZ$850,000 saw the Te Akau Racing supremo go to NZ$900,000 to secure the filly, demonstrating how bullish he is about the daughter of Not A Single Doubt.
Catalogued as Lot 371, the Haunui Farm-consigned filly is the third foal out of Iffraaj mare Meleka Belle, a winning half-sister to the stakes-placed quartet Tsarina Belle (by Stravinsky), Desert Rain (Honor Grades), Housemaster (Housebuster) and Kiwinsky (Stravinsky).
Meleka Belle's only foal to race is Te Akau Racing's three-year-old filly Melody Belle, who won the Group 3 Mongolian Khan Trophy sprint at Ellerslie on Saturday to record her sixth victory.
"I have been watching this filly's family as I have been growing up for the last 40 years. It is an unbelievable fillies family and I thought the cross with Not A Single Doubt was top class," Ellis said, confirming she will join his newly established fillies syndicate.
"There were a lot of people on the filly and there were a lot of different organisations that came to me wanting to do a joint venture and I wanted her for my fillies syndicate and for Jamie (Richards) and Steve (Autridge) to train.
"I normally wait for them to be on the market before I bid but I thought I would try and blow them out of the water with one bid. Somebody went to NZ$850,000 but I was still really pleased to get her for NZ$900,000 because I would have gone (to at least) NZ$1 million."
Sale Results - Days One, Two and Three
Sold 399 (79%)
Top Lot NZ$1,025,000
Ellis said he believes the Not A Single Doubt filly was a better type than Melody Belle.
"The moment I saw her at Haunui Farm she was quite a stunning filly," he said. "When she came out at the parade, I was with Joe Walls and Joe turned around and said, 'Wow, David, turn around and have a look at this filly'.
"She came to the sale, didn't turn a hair and I will be getting her ready for the Karaka Million, I promise you."
Te Akau Racing won the 2017 Karaka Million with Melody Belle, while they won this year's race with Avantage, a Fastnet Rock filly, at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Haunui Farm's Mark Chitty said Meleka Belle was developing into a high-class broodmare and was not surprised by yesterday's result.
"You just don't get fillies like this very often. She is a queen, the complete package," Chitty told ANZ Bloodstock News.
"Our long-time client, Marie Leicester, knows the ups and downs, euphoria and disappointments associated with thoroughbred breeding and we couldn't be happier for her. I said to Marie - it's time to bank some. Melody Belle sold for NZ$57,500 and now it's time for the payoff.
"Meleka Belle had plenty of ability and her first foal is a Group 1 winner which is a rare feat. She has a Tavistock foal at foot and is back in foal to Tavistock. We might have to look at going back across the Tasman this year."
The NZ$900,000 price tag was the highest price ever paid for a filly by the Arrowfield Stud-based Not A Single Doubt.
New record for Waikato
Dean Hawthorne admitted he had drawn on the experienced eye of fellow bloodstock agent Bruce Perry when deciding to make a NZS$875,000 play for a Savabeel filly closely related to Group One winner Daffodil.
Acting for Victorian businessman Jonathan Munz's GSA Bloodstock, Hawthorne had to fend off close friend Michael Wallace of the China Horse Club to secure the filly, catalogued as Lot 487.
"I do a lot of work for Bruce Perry spelling and looking after his horses and he is the master of picking Savabeel fillies," said Hawthorne.
"We had Lucia Valentina at home and to this day she is still the toughest filly I have had anything to do with. I have watched what fillies Bruce buys and she is the sort of Savabeel that he buys. I hope I am right anyway."
Waikato Stud's Mark Chittick told ANZ Bloodstock News the filly was the highest-priced yearling ever sold by the family operation.
"I am overwhelmed. Our previous high was NZ$775,000, so this is quite a shock," Chittick said.
In total, 399 yearlings have been sold for an aggregate of NZ$63,635,000 at an average of NZ$159,486 and median of NZ$120,000. The clearance rate sits at 79 per cent.
The last day of book one starts at 11am on Wednesday.
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