Local ownership interests have two live chances in Millefiori and Follow Your Dreams in the Karaka Million at Ellerslie on Saturday night.
On Sunday, several Northland breeders will be anxiously waiting to see if the buyer interest, without overseas visitors, is strong for their youngsters at the sales. The breeders will be hoping the very strong Gold Coast sales held earlier this month will be reflected at the sales. The fear is that many potential Karaka buyers switched to the Gold Coast because they cannot attend this coming week with the current travel restrictions.
For Totara Park couple Nicky and Dirk Oberholster both the race and sales will be of huge interest and importance. Totara Park is the registered breeder of the unbeaten Millefiori and the breeders retained an ownership share as part of the Te Akau Millefiori Racing Partnership. Plus they will be selling a half brother by Per Incanto at the sales, no doubt a win would add a little more value to the sale.
Millefiori is trained by Jamie Richards and to be ridden by Danielle Johnson. In early betting markets Millefiori is favourite to win the race at $3.40.
Millefiori was a $65,000 purchase by David Ellis CNZM from the National Yearling sale Book 2 session at Karaka last year. She is the second foal of Savabeel mare Miss Bluebell and is closely related to multiple stakes winner Vegas Showgirl, the dam of superstar galloper Winx.
Bred by Valachi Downs principal Kevin Hickman, Follow Your Dreams, a son of emerging sire Contributer, is the first foal of O’Reilly mare Dare To Dream and was purchased by Rae for $24,000 at the Book 2 Yearling Sale at Karaka 12 months ago.
Purchased by Kenny Rae and trained in partnership with Krystal Williams-Tuhoro Follow Your Dreams is third favourite at $8.50 in the early betting markets.
“I had two out of his family and one went to Hong Kong and one went to Singapore. That’s what made me look at buying him,” Rae said.
“When I looked at him, I had a horse called Upsala for Lars Pearson a few years back, and he was a lovely two-year-old and this fella was a clone physically.
There were concerns in some quarters that he was a speed machine taking advantage of his very impressive physical build when winning down south. He then returned north and finished an eye-catching fifth on Boxing Day at Ellerslie when racing without luck.
“That was the run of his life. It was better than his two wins and a second to me. He ran the fastest last four sectionals of the race,” Rae said.
“He has done a lot of quiet work on the beach trying to keep him a wee bit fresh. It’s a different way of training normal two-year-olds, but he is not a normal two-year-old. He is like a five-year-old gelding.”
The other local interest on Karaka Million race night is Chris Gibbs’ trained Ever So Easy who won very easily at Ruakaka at the successful summer meeting on January 7th.
Local breeders Terry Archer, Grant Currie and Evan Phillips have a number of yearlings going through the sales including Lot 1 to start the sales on Sunday.