David Ellis is no stranger to the top end of the buyers sheet at a New Zealand Bloodstock sale, and he found himself there once again on Wednesday when purchasing the top lot on day one of their Ready to Run Sale at Te Rapa.
Caught in a bidding duel with bloodstock agent Bryce Tankard and an online bidder, Ellis was adamant he was going to secure lot 107, the Savabeel colt out of Etiquette, a full-sister to multiple Group One winner and ill-fated Waikato Stud stallion Sacred Falls.
The bids quickly surpassed the $500,000 mark but Ellis was in for the long haul, eventually coming out on top with a final bid of $640,000.
The colt, who is a full-brother to stakes winner and Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) runner-up Milford, was offered through Ohukia Lodge’s draft on account of Waikato Stud.
Ellis was taken by the colt when he inspected him and he said he took great heart knowing that he had been raised at Waikato Stud, who stand his champion sire Savabeel.
“He is from a lovely family, from a great farm, and we are pretty excited to have him in the stable,” Ellis said.
“I think he is a 1600m to 2000m colt that we want to have a good crack at winning some nice staying races. He is the sort of horse that you have got to buy to win those races.
“He is a Savabeel-O’Reilly cross that has been so successful and he goes back to a Redoute’s Choice mare. It is a great family that we have had a lot of success with too.
“We are really rapt to have him in the stable for our owners.”
Ellis was also active on Wednesday purchasing seven other juveniles, including lot 114, the Savabeel colt out of Riverrock’s draft for $340,000, lot 155, the Tavistock filly out of KB Bloodstock’s draft for $170,000, and lot 93 the Churchill gelding out of Ascot Farm’s draft for $160,000.
“We bought eight horses and we thought it was a terrific sale,” Ellis said.
“With the stakes money increases at Ellerslie and other good news being announced from other clubs in months to come, there is a lot of demand from people who are wanting to be involved in Te Akau racing.”
Ellis was also full of praise for the job New Zealand Bloodstock have done in promoting the sale under COVID-19 restrictions.
“It was quite incredible the job New Zealand Bloodstock did in marketing the horses in these very difficult times,” he said.
New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready to Run Sale has been a happy source of talent for Ellis, who has purchased Gingernuts, Te Akau Shark, and Hall Of Fame out of the sale.
Ellis paid just $42,500 for Gingernuts from Stainley Park’s draft at the 2015 Ready to Run Sale and he went on to win six of his 12 starts and more than $1.27 million in stakes, including victories in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m), Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Windsor Park Plate (1600m).
Ellis also purchased Hall Of Fame out of Lyndhurst Farm’s 2015 draft for $230,000 and paid the same amount from the same draft a year later for Te Akau Shark.
Te Akau Shark had 14 starts for seven wins, including the Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m), Gr.1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m), and placings in the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m), Gr.1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Gr.1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), while Hall Of Fame won the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham in 2017. – NZ Racing Desk