Karaka Graduates Shining on Biggest Stages

Media Release - Thursday January 7

With Karaka 2021 rapidly approaching within the first few weeks of the new year, a look back over the biggest carnivals and most prestigious races across Australia and New Zealand in 2020 reveals stellar success by graduates of New Zealand Bloodstock Sales.


The New Zealand and Karaka flags flew high in Sydney in the early part of the year, with hugely impressive Group One victories for sensational stablemates Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) and Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel).

Te Akau Shark was passed in at the 2016 Premier Sale with a reserve of $70,000, and was bought by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $230,000 at the Ready to Run Sale later that year.

Te Akau Shark (NZ)  wins the G1 Chipping Norton Stakes - image Steve Hart.

The flashy chestnut produced a brilliant performance to win a star-studded A$600,000 Group One Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in late February, beating multiple Group One winners Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed), Fierce Impact (Deep Impact), Avilius (Pivotal) and Happy Clapper (Teofilo).

That was the pinnacle of a terrific career for Te Akau Shark, who also won at Group One level in New Zealand and placed in one of the world’s greatest weight-for-age races, the A$5m Group One Cox Plate (2040m). Trained by Jamie Richards, he finished his career with seven wins and five placings from 14 starts, earning $1.53 million in stakes – more than six times his purchase price.

His stablemate Probabeel was bought by Ellis for $380,000 in Book 1 of Karaka 2018. Raced by Cambridge Stud owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay, she made history at Ellerslie last January as the first-ever $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) winner to come back a year later and deliver a repeat result in the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).

Probabeel then crossed the Tasman and scored a high-class Group One victory in the A$500,000 Surround Stakes (1400m) against some of Australia’s finest fillies.

Other big-race performers during the Sydney carnival included Kinane (NZ) (Reliable Man), who was a $55,000 purchase by Red Hare Bloodstock from Book 2 of Karaka 2018 and later fetched $165,000 at the Ready to Run Sale. He produced an exceptional turn of foot to win the A$140,000 Group Three Frank Packer Plate (2000m), hinting at a bright future over staying distances.



Probabeel picked up in the spring right where she had left off in the autumn, emphatically winning the time-honoured A$1m Group One Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick. She joined Winx (Street Cry) and Secret Admirer (Dubawi) as only the fourth mare to win the Epsom in the last 45 years.

Probabeel (NZ) wins the G1 Epsom - image Steve Hart

The Epsom Handicap was Probabeel’s eighth win from 18 career starts and lifted her past $2.5 million in stakes – more than six and a half times her purchase price. Probabeel’s spring campaign also featured an emphatic victory in the Group Three Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m).

Another star of the Sydney spring was Kolding (NZ) (Ocean Park), who was a $170,000 purchase by Mulcaster Bloodstock at the 2017 Premier Sale at Karaka. Previously a winner of the Epsom Handicap and the A$7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m), Kolding collected another major prize in this year’s A$500,000 Group One George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick, along with the Group Two Hill Stakes (2000m).

Trained by Chris Waller for owner Neville Morgan, Kolding has now won 10 races and more than A$5.89 million in stakes – 34 times his purchase price.

Mo’unga (NZ) (Savabeel) was another strong spring performer for Waller. Bought for $325,000 by Aquis Farm from Book 1 of Karaka 2019, the exciting colt won all of his first three starts including a brilliant performance in the A$150,000 Listed Dulcify Quality (1500m).



Karaka-sourced three-year-olds shone particularly brightly during the spring carnival in Melbourne.

The highlight came in the prestigious Group One A$2m Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington, which was won by the    $50,000 Book 1 Karaka 2019 purchase Johnny Get Angry (NZ) (Tavistock).

Johnny Get Angry (NZ) wins the G1 Victoria Derby - image Racing Photos


He is the fifth Karaka graduate to win the Victoria Derby in the last 11 years, following on from Monaco Consul (NZ) (High Chaparral), Sangster (NZ) (Savabeel), Preferment (NZ) (Zabeel) and Tarzino (NZ) (Tavistock).

The Denis Pagan-trained Johnny Get Angry has now earned almost $1.27 million, which is 25 times his purchase price. The Derby third placegetter, Young Werther (NZ) (Tavistock), was also bought from Book 1 of Karaka 2019 for $140,000.

Crosshaven (Smart Missile), who was picked up for $80,000 by Lindsay Racing from Book 1 of Karaka 2019, was a top-flight performer throughout the Melbourne spring. He won the A$250,000 Group Three Carbine Club Stakes (1600m), A$250,000 Group Three Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and A$140,000 Listed Exford Plate (1400m), and he was close up without much luck in the A$2m Group One Caulfield Guineas (1600m).

Crosshaven has won five of his seven starts, earning A$546,638 so far – more than seven times his purchase price.

Sierra Sue (NZ) (Darci Brahma), who was passed in at Karaka 2018 with a $30,000 reserve and later cost Peter Lock just $2000 at the May Sale, has won five of her eight starts and A$263,175 in stakes. The pinnacle of her career so far came in a last-to-first triumph in the A$300,000 Group Two Rose of Kingston Stakes (1400m).

Group One winner Miami Bound (NZ) (Reliable Man) added this season’s A$500,000 Group Two Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) to her CV, improving her record to five wins and A$1.2 million from 16 starts. She was bought for $120,000 by O’Brien Thoroughbreds from Book 1 of Karaka 2018.

Another notable spring performer was The Chosen One (NZ) (Savabeel), who was passed in at the 2017 Premier Sale with a reserve of $150,000. He finished third in the A$5m Group One Caulfield Cup (2400m) and fourth in the A$7.75m Group One Melbourne Cup (3200m), and he has now earned more than $1.7 million in his 27-start, six-win career.

Remarkably, New Zealand horses have won 16 Group One races over the last five Melbourne Spring Carnivals.



There was also Group One glory in Western Australia for Inspirational Girl (NZ) (Reliable Man), who was bought by John Chalmers Bloodstock for $190,000 from Jamieson Park’s draft in the 2017 Premier Sale.

Inspirational Girl (NZ) wins the G1 Railway Stakes.

Inspirational Girl produced a brilliant turn of foot to win the Group One Railway Stakes (1600m), then came from a hopeless position to run second in the Group One Kingston Town Classic (1800m). She has now had 12 starts for nine wins, three placings and A$1.09 million, which is more than six times her purchase price.



All three Group One features during the Spring Carnival at Hastings were won by Karaka graduates.

Two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) continued her remarkable record at Hawke’s Bay with sparkling victories in the $200,000 Group One Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and $250,000 Group One Livamol Classic (2040m).

Melody Belle (NZ) wins G1 Livamol Classic.

She has now had seven starts at Hastings for seven wins, all at Group One level during the last three editions of the prestigious Spring Carnival.

Now a 12-time Group One winner, Melody Belle was bought by Te Akau’s David Ellis for just $57,500 at the 2016 Premier Sale. She has now had 35 starts for 17 wins, seven placings and more than $4 million in stakes for the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate.

The $200,000 Group One Tarzino Trophy (1400m) was won by Callsign Mav (NZ) (Atlante), who was a $3000 purchase from the 2017 National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale.

The $100,000 Group Two Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) and $70,000 Group Three Spring Sprint (1400m) were won by Karaka graduates Aegon (NZ) (Sacred Falls) and Hypnos (NZ) (Reliable Man) respectively.



Karaka yearling graduates won both of the prestigious Group One three-year-old races at Riccarton during the South Island’s biggest week of racing.

Aegon (NZ)  wins the NZ 2,000 guineas.

The New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) was won by Aegon who was a $150,000 purchase from Waikato Stud’s draft in Book 1 of Karaka 2019. He has now had three starts for three wins, also including the Group Two Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m), and he has earned $329,400 for trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman. The latter shares ownership with the Zame Partnership.

The winner of the New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) was Kahma Lass (NZ) (Darci Brahma), who was bought by David Ellis for $290,000 from Curraghmore’s Book 1 draft at Karaka 2019. Trained by Jamie Richards, Kahma Lass has had four starts for two wins and two placings, earning $179,400 to date.

The $50,000 Select Sale graduate Hypnos won the $230,000 Group Two Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m), while the well-bred Dragon Storm (NZ) (Shocking), who cost $55,000 at the 2016 Premier Sale and $150,000 at the Ready to Run Sale, captured the $250,000 Group Three New Zealand Cup (3200m).



Karaka graduates won eight races during Auckland’s time-honoured two-day Christmas carnival, with Avantage (Fastnet Rock) clearly the star of the show.

Avantage has won 5 G1 races!

Bought for $210,000 by David Ellis at the 2017 Premier Sale, Avantage collected her fifth Group One victory with an outstanding performance in the Sistema Railway (1200m). She has now won 12 of her 22 starts and more than $1.6 million.

Avantage has won Group One races over a remarkable range of distances:

  • 2021 Railway and 2020 Telegraph (both 1200m)
  • 2018 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m)
  • 2020 Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m)
  • 2020 New Zealand Stakes (2000m)

Another star of the carnival was Avantage’s stablemate Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel), who Ellis bought for $300,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2019. Making only the third start of her career, she blew her rivals off the track in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and was favourably compared with star stablemate Probabeel.



Other standout performers among Karaka alumni in 2020 include the Group One winners Cool Aza Beel (NZ) (Tavistock), Toffee Tongue (NZ) (Tavistock) and Rock On Wood (NZ) (Redwood).

Cool Aza Beel was yet another David Ellis purchase for Te Akau Racing, selected for $150,000 from the Book 1 draft of Fairdale Stud at Karaka 2019. He had six starts for four wins and $707,560 in stakes, headed by the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) and the $200,000 Group One Sistema Stakes (1200m).

Toffee Tongue is a full-sister to multiple Group One winner Werther (NZ) (Tavistock), stakes winner Gobstopper (NZ) (Tavistock) and Group One placegetter Milsean (NZ) (Tavistock).

Bought for $500,000 at Karaka 2018 by Dean Hawthorne Bloodstock, Toffee Tongue won the A$400,000 Group One Schweppes Oaks (2000m) in Adelaide. She has also placed in the A$600,000 Group One ATC Australian Oaks (2400m), A$500,000 Group One Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and two other Group races. She has earned A$536,350 to date.

Rock On Wood provided one of the great stories of 2020, being bought for just $26,000 from the 2016 Festival Sale. He is trained by Leanne Elliot, who shares ownership with her mother Jill and sister Yvonne.

Rock On Wood has won eight of his 18 starts and $332,300 in stakes, headed by a Group One triumph in the Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham in December, where he was ridden by Elliot’s son Ryan.



  • New Zealand horses have won six of the last seven editions of the prestigious Group One ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick.
  • A total of 31 New Zealand-sourced Group winners won 36 Group races in Australia last season, despite representing just 6.9% of the racing population.
  • New Zealand horses have won 43% of all Australasian Group One Guineas races in the last five seasons.
  • Over the last seven seasons, 29% of all Australian Group One Derby races have been won by New Zealand-sourced three-year-olds.
  • New Zealand stayers have proven their exceptional stamina across the Tasman, winning 27% of all Group One races over 2020 metres and beyond in Australia over the last five seasons.

All New Zealand-based buyers and agents are welcome to attend the physical sales in person at Karaka. Registration can be completed as usual on sale days at the Sale Day office, or online.  

New Zealand-based agents are also available to complete inspections on behalf of international buyers at the on farm parades and sale complex, with phone bidding another welcomed option for buyers.

Registrations for NZB’s online bidding platform will be open shortly. Visit bidonline.nzb.co.nz and ensure you are registered and verified for online bidding 24 hours prior to the commencement of Karaka 2021.


Karaka Million Twilight meeting: Saturday 23 January at Ellerslie

Book 1: Sunday 24 January – Tuesday 26 January

Book 2: Wednesday 27 January and Thursday 28 January

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