Less than two days out from the start of the 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale the buzz around the Karaka sales complex is steadily rising.
Horses arrived at the venue early in the week with the first potential buyers conducting their initial inspections from Tuesday onwards.
Feedback received by vendors from those early parades has indicated that buyers are pleased with what they have seen.
“We were a little behind on Wednesday as to what we were last year, in terms of parade numbers, but there was a good uplift on Thursday,” Haunui Farm’s Mark Chitty said.
“I think there seems to be a good number of people here and we are seeing some faces from the younger training ranks in Australia that we haven’t traditionally seen at Book 1.”
One of the common themes emanating from the buying bench is the level of positive comments around the first-season stallions who will have their first crop of youngsters head through the auction ring.
“We’re happy with the way our new stallion Belardo has been received,” Chitty said.
“Today (Friday) has really picked up and we are seeing buyers come back for their second or third look which is what we want.”
Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis, who has been the leading buyer at Karaka for more than a decade, is one who reiterated the vibe around the first season stallion market.
“I think there will be some seriously good horses come out of this sale and we’re looking to be part of it,” he said.
“It is very encouraging for the future of New Zealand breeding and I think they (first season sires) will sell well.
“There are a tremendous number of people here from all around the world and New Zealand Bloodstock are to be congratulated for assembling such a big buying bench.
“The great thing about an auction is you need two people to get a good price although, of course I hope there aren’t two people for the ones I want to buy.
“The competition for me is who gets the best Group One horses and we have had our share with the likes of Melody Belle, Te Akau Shark and Avantage to name a few and hopefully we will be buying more of them.”
Rich Hill Stud principal John Thompson has enjoyed good success in recent months through the deeds of the progeny of resident stallions Shocking and Proisir and he is thrilled with the interest buyers are showing in their yearlings along with that of first season sire Vadamos.
“We’ve definitely been busy showing horses but there seems to have been a noticeable differentiation from the past,” Thompson said.
“People are arriving and looking at our whole draft whereas previously they may have only looked at five or six specific lots.
“We have a large number of Vadamos youngsters in our draft and people want a good look at all of them.
“They are athletic, strong horses and as he was a Group One-winning miler with a lot of speed in his pedigree, it has come together well for us.
“I’m reluctant to single any one horse out as we have a good line of colts but we have a filly (Lot 169) I really like who is out of the full-sister to Melbourne Cup (Gr.1, 3200m) winner Prince Of Penzance, who was one of our most famous graduates and is a real classic type.”
Well-known trainer David Hayes, who has been a regular at Karaka for many years, was one of the large Australian buying contingent at the complex on Friday and he was impressed with what he saw.
“We’ve been having a good look around and there are some quality horses here so I like what I have seen,” he said.
“I generally look at the proven sires and we have had good success from that, so that will be my focus.”
The presence of large numbers of the influential Australian buying bench is one of the key strategies worked on by New Zealand Bloodstock with Bloodstock Sales Manager Danny Rolston pleased with how the six days of selling are shaping up.
“The litmus test is the parade cards from the vendors which showed Tuesday and Wednesday were fairly solid but it picked up again on Thursday and today (Friday), it’s pretty hectic,” he said.
“We really attacked the Australian market and focussed our resources on getting them back this year after they dropped off in 2019 and it looks like it is working so far.”
The Book 1 session of the sale commences at 11am on Sunday January 26 with more than 1200 horses set to go through the auction ring by the close of play on Friday January 31. – NZ Racing Desk