The Oaks Stud is no stranger to success having bred and raced the likes of seven-time Group One winner and dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Seachange, dual Group One winner Recite, and Group One winners Artistic, Risque, Keepa Crusin and Devise.
This season the farm has enjoyed a series of stellar results from the progeny of their flagship stallion Darci Brahma.
Heading the list of performers are Catalyst, Darci’s Tune and Double Impact, four homebred geldings Dick Karreman, proprietor of The Oaks Stud, retained to race. Karreman also bought a majority share in talented filly Kali following an impressive trial performance, and bred and sold Harlech.
“Darci Brahma is not a huge seller at the yearling sales,” general manager Rick Williams said.
“We have found that we have had some lovely horses that we might have only got offered $30,000 or $40,000 for, so Dick said let’s have some fun and race them.”
Last weekend Darci Brahma sired the quinella of the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld 2000 New Zealand Guineas (1600m) with Catalyst sealing his title as star three-year-old of the season delivering a dominant performance to win the Riccarton feature over fellow Oaks-bred gelding Harlech.
On Saturday Kali will start as one of the favoured runners in the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com 1000 New Zealand Guineas (1600m).
“Dick comes over for the yearling sales and the occasional race meeting,” Williams said. “He was at the Guineas meeting on Saturday and will probably come back for the 1000 Guineas.”
Catalyst has developed into the standout three-year-old of the season under the care of Clayton Chipperfield, winning each of his four starts this term, all at stakes level and in impressive fashion.
Catalyst is out of the Entrepreneur mare, Evana and hails from an all-star extended family that traces back to champion Australian galloper and sire, Lonhro and multiple Group One winner, Niello.
Evana has produced five other winners, including stakes performer Stratana and Evana Rahma who was a recent winner at Pukekohe.
As is often the case when it comes to Murphy’s Law, Catalyst came on the scene after The Oaks Stud sold Evana at the 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock May Sale where she was purchased by Taranaki breeders John ‘Steak’ and Christine Goodin for just $5,500.
“Harlech, who we bred, is another nice one” Williams said. “I am really pleased that he turned out so well because he is out of a good Oaks mare that is looking like a good producer."
Harlech is a son of Bachelor Duke mare Obsession who won four races in a limited career and was placed at Group One level in the 2010 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) after winning the Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at her previous start.
A $100,000 Karaka Yearling Sale purchase by Paul Moroney, Harlech is also the younger brother of lightly raced stayer Obsessive who runs in The Oaks Stud’s silks.
Williams is equally enthusiastic about the talent of Guineas hopeful Kali and believes the best is yet to come.
“I think Kali will be a better autumn filly than she is a spring filly,” Williams said. “Even though she is a super chance in the 1000 Guineas.”
Raced in partnership with Frontier Bloodstock, Kali is the last foal of St. Petersburg mare Race Empress and is a half-sister to stakes placed filly Royal Dominance and promising three-year-old Heavenly Emperor.
The Oaks Stud also retained debut winner Double Impact and Darci’s Tune who won his Australian debut for Patrick Payne in October.
“Darci’s Tune was with Clayton Chipperfield,” Williams said. “We had three lovely three-year-old geldings probably heading for the same races and decided to split them up and Darci’s Tune went to Patrick and won first up.
“He was showing as much talent as the other two before he went.”
Alongside Darci Brahma The Oaks Stud also stands Roc de Cambes and Niagara. The remainder of the portfolio includes 56 broodmares and around 15 racehorses in work.
“We have had a lot of success over the years and we have raced more horses than most studs,” Williams said. “We have a lot of land and run at a very low stocking rate.”
“I just think Darci Brahma is a very good stallion to work with, he is extraordinary statistically.
“When you have a good stallion, good land, low stocking rate and very good staff all those things combine to get you good results.”
Williams said the next twelve months were crucial to the future of the farm.
“I’m hopeful by this time next year we will have the Messara report adopted in full,” he said.
“If that doesn’t happen then I figure we will change our systems and try a lot here and race them in Australia.
“If the right decisions are made over the next 12 months then we will be buying stallions to stand again, if the right stallion came along we would look at it.
“Pity Catalyst is a gelding.” -Amie Best, NZTBA