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Almanzor to the fore at New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling Sale

Karaka auction ?paints a good picture for the buoyancy of the industry?

Almanzor: his colt topped the New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling Sale
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The New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling Sale has reinforced NZB’s bloodstock sales manager Danny Rolston’s view that the country’s thoroughbred industry is on an upward trajectory after years of inaction, as domestic and international buyers locked horns on a select group of Kiwi-bred foals.

The 120-lot Karaka sale was, as expected, dominated by Cambridge Stud’s second-crop stallion Almanzor, who sired five of the highest-priced 15 lots including the NZ$145,000 (£74,500/€86,500) colt who topped the auction.

The increase in aggregate spend shows encouraging signs for the New Zealand industry and, although not rivalling the growth of Australian sales, the figures achieved do back up Rolston’s assertion, with an aggregate of NZ$1.82 million up ten per cent on the 2019 sale (2020 was held online due to the pandemic) from a smaller catalogue. The clearance rate was 82 per cent.

The average of NZ$22,195 was up 22 per cent on two years ago, while the median of NZ$11,000 was up from NZ$10,000 from 2019.

For context, last week’s Inglis Australian Weanling Sale, compared to the 2019 sale, was up 31, 23 and 33 per cent on aggregate, average and median figures respectively.

Rolston believes the sale “paints a good picture for the buoyancy of New Zealand at the moment”.

“There’s been strong trade with a good clearance rate, which is a sign of some positive news in the New Zealand industry, coupled with some buoyancy in the bloodstock market,” Rolston told ANZ Bloodstock News.

“The regular comment among the buyers was that they are realistic about what they are going to be up against at the weanling sales in Australia and they realised they needed to be strong at home.

“The New Zealand industry has proven what it can produce with its results in Australia in the past 12 months and I think that it holds the New Zealand product in good stead.”

The most expensive weanling sold on Friday, consigned by Haunui Farm, was bred by Andrew Grierson and Garth Lockyer and purchased by trader Mark Baker of Hallmark Stud for the NZ$145,000 figure.

By Cambridge Stud shuttler Almanzor, whose first-crop southern hemisphere yearlings sold for up to $800,000 this year, the colt is the third foal out of Group 3 winner Girl Of My Dreams, a juvenile winner of seven races in New Zealand from five to nine furlongs.

Declared by pundits pre-sale as a standout, he was catalogued as Lot 78.

“I loved him from the time we saw him at Haunui. Myself and my partners are delighted to get him,” Baker said.

“He has a wonderful temperament, he never batted an eyelid up here all week. He is beautifully balanced with great strength, great movement, and is correct. He is off a great farm by an extremely exciting young horse in Almanzor.”

The colt will reside at Hallmark Stud until next year’s NZB Karaka Yearling Sale, where the intention is to reoffer him to the market.

Baker hopes the colt will be his next profitable association with the progeny of Almanzor.

“Almanzor has been very good to us. We sold one for $560,000 on behalf of the Pikes, and a filly we bred for $300,000,” he said. 

“They are wonderful types and I have worked with enough of them now and they have got brilliant temperaments, they are going to be a huge chance.”

Assessing Friday’s market, Baker said: “For a nice horse, they were extremely hard to buy. If you had a genuine horse here today, as was proven, there was a lot of money here.”

Haunui Farm principal Mark Chitty was delighted with the result having expected the colt to sell well.

“We have been selling weanlings for a long time and he is the nicest we have brought to this sale, and he sold accordingly,” Chitty said.

“He is a lovely colt out of a very good mare and by a young sire who has created a lot of interest, and they have sold really well.

“I expected him to be a six-figure horse. He oozed class and handled pressure.

“He was bought by a very good judge in Mark Baker. He bought Hardline off us and he went on and won the Karaka Million. He was a very good pinhook result for him.

“The mare is back in foal to Almanzor, so it was a great result.”

Haunui Farm were leading vendor by aggregate at the sale, selling 15 of their 17 lots on offer for an aggregate of NZ$339,500.

“The good horses, and there haven’t been a lot of them, have sold well, but underneath that reflects the state of the industry,” said Chitty.

“You haven’t got people buying horses to put in the paddock and wait. It’s the traders, people who are looking to pinhook yearlings or ready-to-runners.

“I totally support a standalone weanling sale. I don’t think you have to have it mixed up and I think that it is great to be back at a sales ground. 

“The pinhookers like to see horses in the flesh and they like to see how they handle pressure, especially if they are going to pay decent money for them.”

Brighthill Farm’s Nick King also sold a colt by Almanzor for NZ$67,500 on behalf of the Duchess of Bedford. Catalogued as Lot 64, he is the fifth foal out of the stakes-placed Dancing Attendance. 

“Henrietta, Duchess of Bedford, likes to trade and likes to sell foals and there is plenty left in this colt,” said King.

“I'm happy and so is Henrietta. There has to be some margin for the purchaser, who I understand is going to bring him back in January. This colt qualifies. He is a lovely colt and will look really good in another eight months.”

Trainer John Bary was looking more long-term with his purchase of an Almanzor filly for NZ$40,000.

Offered by Curraghmore as Lot 14, the filly is the fifth foal out of the stakes-placed Ruthless Lady.

“My client will be very happy. We wanted to buy an Almanzor in January but they were out of our range, but I know this family, I train a close relative Bucky [a two-time winner],” Bary said.

“She was bought to race and I am happy about that. The family is very current with that new stakes winner at Ellerslie a couple weeks back.”

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They are wonderful types and I have worked with enough of them now and they have got brilliant temperaments
E.W. Terms