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Innovation is the name of the game for The Oaks

Innovation (above) notches up her third Listed win at Matamata - Photo NZTM website
Innovation (above) notches up her third Listed win at Matamata

Photo NZTM website

The right track conditions are the key to Innovation (Keeper [AUS]- Miss Grovesnor) according to Rick Williams general manager of The Oaks Stud and Karreman Bloodstock.

Innovation notched up her third listed win when she took out the Team Weallens Matamata Cup recently on a rain affected slow nine track.
"She is very good under those conditions. If she gets rain on the day she doesn't let you down," said Williams.

"She doesn't have the best front legs but is very consistent and if the rain stays around for another month or so she will continue to race well in some good races that will suit her. We may even look at going to Riccarton for the Couplands Mile, but then we don't really want rain down there as that won't suit our 2000 Guineas aspirant in All Decked Out."

Such are the dilemmas for the man that runs the all-powerful Karreman Bloodstock racing team, with dozens of horses in training throughout New Zealand and in Australia as well.

"Innovation has a pedigree that suggests she may get over more ground and we had thought of running her in the listed Rotorua Plate over 1950 but One Above (Darci Brahma- Royal Proclomation [USA]) and Skysoblue (Cape Cross [IRE]- Stever House[USA]) are going to run in that so there is no point racing them all against each other."

As a three-year-old Innovation raced twice over ground in an attempt to get to the Oaks which incidentally was the year that the Karreman Bloodstock-owned fillies Artistic and Zurella ran first and second. She didn't persevere with an Oaks campaign and kept to shorter distances. She went on to win a hat trick of 1600 metre events before beating the older mares in the listed Tauranga Classic for fillies and mares over 1400.

Last season the Ralph Manning-trained mare added another black type win to her tally taking out the Wanganui Challenge Stakes again over 1600 metres -that, on the back of placings in the listed Rangitikei Gold Cup and Manawatu Anzac Handicap both over 1600 metres.
"It's a good old family, a real staying family, it's the family of the Caulfield Cup winner Imposera (Imposing [AUS]- Helen of Troy) and the Derby winner Wahid (Almutawakel[GB]- Rory's Helen)," he added.

Miss Grosvenor, the dam of Innovation is by the VRC Derby winner Grosvenor, out of the Noble Bijou (USA) mare Helen, a daughter of the Sovereign Edition (IRE) mare Helen of Troy. With those bloodlines it is easy to see why Williams would think that her pedigree would suggest that she would stay.

Helen was unraced, but she is a half-sister of Calera (Zamazaan[FR]) who won the group two VRC Wakeful Stakes and ran second in the Queensland Oaks before becoming the dam of Imposera. She also left Imprimatur, also by Imposing, and he won the group one AJC Spring Champion Stakes and went on to become a successful sire. Calera also left another stakes-winner in Calaboose (Brigand[USA])
Another half-sister to Helen, Helen's Love, is the grandam of Wahid and the group three winner All The Chat (Westminster) who in turn left B B Guldan (Chief Bearheart[CAN]), a group three winner in Japan.

"Bevan Laming bought Miss Grosvenor, the dam of Innovation, for Dick and he raced her in Australia where she won over 1600. She had a couple of foals there before returning to the farm and eventually I found the right mating for her with Keeper," he said.
In fact Innovation is the sixth foal of Miss Grosvenor and the fourth winner. She has also left Ballybit (Spartacus [IRE]) a winner of five races, Miss Faberge(Ustinov[AUS]) who won four races and Five's A Diamond (Traditionally[USA]) who won two. Her next six matings have been with Keeper with the first producing Innovation.

"It was a good mating on paper, not just because of the Danehill influence, but it has a good pattern, and a lot of good things in behind in the pedigree that I like.

"Once I find a good mating I usually keep sending the mare back there. There is a four-year-old mare, and an un-named three-year-old gelding that Ralph (Manning) has won a trial with and is due to step out shortly. He is pretty smart, and there is a two-year-old filly that's just been broken in and the mare is due to foal to Keeper again, and return to him."

Williams is also enthusiastic about Karreman Bloodstock's smart three-year-old All Decked Out. The lightly raced son of Darci Brahma and the stakes-winning mare Diamond Deck (Octagonal) was narrowly beaten in the group two DHL Hawke's Bay Guineas recently but is still on track to emulate his sire in the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton in November.

"He is still learning his craft. He over raced a little, and then got to the front too early and raced greenly, and he was only just beaten by Sir Andrew and in another stride was back in front. He has huge potential and depending on the weather, he will race next in the group two Wellington Guineas. If it looks like a wet track then we will head straight to Christchurch and race in the Canterbury Stakes, also over the same distance of 1600," he said.

Not only does All Decked Out have huge potential as a racehorse but as a colt, has a potential value as a sire. He is by the exciting young sire in Darci Brahma out of a sister to the champion sire Lonhro and his successful brother Niello. Darci Brahma stands at The Oaks who according to Williams is their only stallion with a full book.


- Michelle Saba