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Irish Rebel warms up for Karaka Million

Irish Rebel (pictured above) made $800,000 in the Karaka Ring at NZB's 2011 Karaka Premier Sale
Irish Rebel (pictured above) made $800,000 in the Karaka Ring at NZB's 2011 Karaka Premier Sale

With less than six weeks to the restricted listed $1million Karaka Million (29th of January), the debut win of Irish Rebel (Danehill Dancer [Ire]-Ballycairn) at Awapuni recently puts that exciting young colt right in contention for the race.

According to Te Akau Stables principal David Ellis who manages Irish Rebel, the Danehill Dancer colt will have a lead up race at Ellerslie on New Year's Day before heading for the Karaka Million. He is currently sixth in order of entry to make the field for the Karaka Million.

"He's a very smart youngster with a great constitution. He has come through the Awapuni win in great order and even though it was his first trip away, he cleaned up his bin the night before the race and he did the same on returning to Matamata.

"We will run him in the group three Eclipse Stakes on New Year's Day that fits in well with the Karaka Million and also gives him a chance to run on the Ellerslie track before the big one.

"I didn't think he would come on quite this early but once we bought him and he showed us so much, we decided we would have a crack at the Million, and then we will focus on the two group one races, the Sires Produce and the Diamond Stakes.

"Being out of a Zabeel mare, like Darci Brahma, he has a stallion's pedigree and now we are going to try and set out a CV that will enable him to stand at stud. Darci Brahma has now earned over $16million in stud fees and with his record at stud he will keep going. I want to try and do the same for this horse and his owners," said Ellis.

Darci Brahma (Danehill [USA]– Grand Echezeaux) was purchased by Ellis in 2004 for $1.1million and went on to be the Champion two-year-old and three-year-old colt of his year, winning five group one races in all. He now stands at The Oaks Stud and is currently the leading second season sire in New Zealand.

Irish Rebel was one of 24 yearlings that Ellis purchased at the Premier Sale last summer and at $800,000, was the second most expensive behind the Red Ransom(USA) half brother to King's Rose out of Nureyev's Girl(AUS), both from the Cambridge Stud draft. That colt went shin sore earlier in the season but is now back in work and may be seen competing against Irish Rebel at group one level later in the season.

"He was an outstanding yearling. He really picked himself - he was so athletic and strong and each time I saw him he seemed to get stronger and stronger. He wasn't a hard horse to syndicate and he is owned by a large cross section of owners from first time owners with Te Akau like Owen Glenn, and industry heavy weights like Cambridge Stud," added Ellis.

According to Marcus Corban of Cambridge Stud, Irish Rebel was always a bit special and had a lot of class.

"We are thrilled, but not at all surprised that he has come to hand so quickly. He's a really lovely horse and it's great that we still have an interest in him, along with some of our good clients like Dr Gene Tsoi, Dr Anthony Chow and Kevin Hickman," he said.

Irish Rebel is the ninth foal from Ballycairn (Zabeel – Cailin Oir[IRE]), herself a winner of two races. She is a three-quarter sister to the stakes placed winner Coleraine (Sir Tristram [IRE]) and a half sister to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Stakes winner Deianira(IRE) (Taufan [USA]).

As a broodmare she has left six winners including the group two MVRC Woodstock Classic Oaks winner Pure Harmony (by Stravinsky [USA]) and the group one placed winner of five races Galway Bay (Rhythm [USA]). Galway Bay has left the listed VRC Anzac Stakes winner Outdo and the stakes placed winner Miraculous Miss both by Exceed and Excel (AUS)(Danehill[USA]-Patrona[USA]).

"Sir Patrick purchased Cailin Oir (Sallust[GB]-Rebel Gold [IRE]) in England with Deianira at foot. He liked the family - Cailin Oir was a three-quarter sister to the stakes winner Conan and a half sister to Ghazwan. It was a family that had done well down here producing the Champion filly Tristanagh (Sir Tristram [IRE] – Attanagh [IRE]) and other stakes winners including Dupain (Sir Tristram).

"Ballycairn was the only filly we managed to get out of the family, and being a Zabeel mare, she is a great addition to our broodmare ranks. With the Danehill and latterly sons of Danehill crossing so well with Zabeel mares, Sir Patrick decided to send Ballycairn across to Danehill Dancer. It was a carefully planned mating so it's wonderful to see it come to fruition with such a striking individual as Irish Rebel," he enthused.

Ballycairn now has a filly foal at foot by Keeper that will be retained by Cambridge Stud and is back in foal to Stravinsky carrying a full brother or sister to Pure Harmony.

Zabeel has had great success as a broodmare sire with 82 stakes winners, 16 at group one level including Darci Brahma (Danehill) Samantha Miss (Redoute's Choice by Danehill), and Anacheeva (Anabaa).

He currently leads the Broodmare Sires' table by earnings in Australia and also leads the New Zealand Broodmare Sires' table with $888,887.


- Michelle Saba