Clark strikes gold with another promising filly
Challenge Syndications’ Adrian Clark looks like he has done it again.
The bloodstock agent and syndicator is quickly making a name for himself for being able to find future Group-winning fillies at the lower-end of the market at Karaka.
Clark purchased subsequent Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) and 2019/20 New Zealand Filly of the Year series winner Jennifer Eccles for just $5,000 as a weanling out of West End Partnership’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Mixed Sale draft, and it looks like he may have found another of her ilk in Best Seller (Wrote (IRE) / Star Amazing) who was a dominant victor of the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings on Saturday.
Clark purchased the Wrote filly out of Highview Stud’s 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 2 Yearling Sale draft for $12,000 and she has already repaid that sum tenfold.
As a two-year-old she showed promise when runner-up in the Gr.2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) to Maven Belle and was fourth in the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) in her previous start.
She has come along in leaps and bounds since her juvenile season, according to Clark and trainer John Bary, and that has been reflected in her undefeated record to date as a three-year-old after winning first-up at Taupo prior to her home track outing.
“We are pretty excited about her,” Clark said. “She showed us plenty at two but it is fair to say that she is a different horse this preparation. She is much more relaxed but is still a work in progress.
“The penny hasn’t really dropped yet, so there is a lot of upside.”
Clark was rapt with his filly’s win on Saturday and pleased to learn that she can handle a heavy track.
“I had no idea whether she would handle it (Heavy10 track), and neither did John (Bary),” Clark said.
“It was territory we hadn’t been to before and I was super impressed with the courage that she showed to pick up eight to 10 lengths down the straight on a horse (Sans Doute) that had dashed clear and looked home. I thought it was a massive run.”
While Best Seller is showing glimpses of her syndicate predecessor Jennifer Eccles, Clark said they are totally different animals.
“She is a totally different horse. Jennifer Eccles was an absolute natural and it was there from day one. This one has had to learn the trade and she is still learning it,” he said.
Last year Clark was after a Wrote filly to add to his syndication offering and said Best Seller fitted the bill following his inspection at Highview prior to the sale.
“I loved her walk and a few things in her pedigree,” he said.
“I went to Highview Stud’s yearling parade to find a Wrote filly. I felt that Wrote was a stallion with potential and this is the one that I liked at their parade.
“I love the way that she is developing and she is getting a bit of a cult following already, it is amazing.”
Clark is hoping Best Seller’s success will aid Wrote’s book this season.
“I think the win was a wonderful boost for Highview. It is not easy to stand a young stallion, the market is very competitive,” he said.
“I bought another one for a client at the yearling sales this year off the strength of what I had seen from Best Seller.
“Every stallion needs a flagbearer, and I think he has got it now with Bestseller, there is plenty ahead with her.”
Clark has been pleased with the way his filly has pulled through the race after inspecting her on Sunday morning and he is excited about her spring programme, which will include a flight south to contest the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November.
“I went and saw the filly this morning at the stable and she has pulled up a treat. She is a happy horse,” he said.
“In my own mind, I have only planned as far as the 1000 Guineas.
“With Jennifer Eccles we planned the whole way through to the Eight Carat, the Lowland and the Oaks.
“This filly keeps surprising us. We have planned her next three runs, which is the Hawke’s Bay Guineas (Gr.2, 1400m) in three weeks, the Soliloquy (Gr.3, 1400m) three weeks after that, and then three weeks into the 1000 Guineas.
“We haven’t planned any further but if she keeps improving and delivering then we have to think about the next part of the season.”
While Clark would prefer to keep Best Seller to her own sex, he said the handy location of the Hawke’s Bay Guineas has forced his hand.
“I dislike taking on the colts at this time of year but it is at home, so it makes so much sense. It is literally 10 minutes down the road from John’s stable,” Clark said.
After a busy season on the road last term, Clark is trying to keep that to a minimum in her three-year-old season.
“She did more travelling than we wanted her to do at two, including two abandoned meetings, one to Wellington and one to New Plymouth,” he said.
“When she goes to Christchurch, we will fly both ways from Auckland. I would never road trip a horse to and from Christchurch, I think it flattens them.”
While enjoying the success of Best Seller, Clark is also looking forward to the return of fellow three-year-old Enraptured, whose juvenile season was curtailed through injury.
“I have got 10 horses in Challenge at the moment. Our other potential star is a horse called Enraptured,” Clark said of the Shaune Ritchie and Colm Murray-trained filly.
“She had one win from two starts last season and then chipped a knee.
“That has all been repaired and she is back in work. She will appear around about Christmas.”
Enraptured was another relatively cheap purchase, with Clark’s $6,000 bid claiming the daughter of Preferment out of Milan Park’s 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling Sale draft. – NZ Racing Desk