Karaka 3YO Million Produces Titanic Battle

Media Release - Saturday January 23

In a titanic tussle that lived up to the pre-race hype, Aegon kept his perfect record intact with a thrilling win over Amarelinha in Saturday’s Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie.

Although the million-dollar race attracted a full field of 17 three-year-olds, the build-up was completely dominated by two horses.

Aegon (inner) gets the best of Amarelinha to win the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie Photo Credit: Kirstin Ledington

One was Aegon, whose three-from-three record included the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton and Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) at Hastings. The other was Amarelinha, a stunning last-start winner of the Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) over the same course and distance as the Karaka Million 3YO Classic.

Amarelinha started as the $2.10 favourite and was widely expected to continue the relentless winning roll of trainer Jamie Richards, jockey Danielle Johnson and the Te Akau Racing team. But Aegon, the only other runner in single figures at $2.60, crashed the party.

The top-class pair eyeballed each other in midfield for much of the race, then brought the crowd to their feet as they strode to the lead side by side halfway up the home straight.

Amarelinha appeared to be gaining the upper hand, but Aegon lifted again and prevailed, snatching victory by a head in one of the season’s standout races.


It was a remarkable training achievement by the Cambridge partnership of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, with Aegon not having raced since the 2000 Guineas on November 7. The son of Sacred Falls had an exhibition gallop at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day and won a trial at Matamata on January 12.

“It’s a big thrill,” Baker said. “We’ve been very patient with this horse, and the staff at home have done a great job with him. It’s also a big achievement for my training partner Andrew, who selected him at the yearling sales.

“He’d never been tried right-handed before, but he was given a great ride from Leith Innes today and he’s delivered on a big stage.”

There was a more muted response from Forsman, who also bought Aegon for $150,000 as a yearling at Karaka and shares ownership with the Zame Partnership.

“It’s a bit of a relief, and I’m glad it’s over,” he said. “He’s a very good horse, and horses like him make trainers look good. It’s special to be racing a horse like this with such great people. It’s a dream.

“Leith is a big-race rider and did a brilliant job today, and it’s a great result. I’m very happy for the staff at home. We’ve had a bit of a lean time recently, we haven’t had the strength of team that we had a few seasons ago, so this is a real boost for them.”

Innes has ridden over 300 winners at Ellerslie in a high-class career in the saddle, but this was his first win in a Karaka Million race.

“It’s a great event, and there’s nothing better than winning one of the million-dollar races on a horse like this,” he said. “He’s very special.

“The turn of foot he showed in the straight was incredible, and when the filly came up beside him, he really fought in those last 50 metres.”

Aegon became the first horse to complete the New Zealand 2000 Guineas-Karaka Million 3YO Classic double.

The race was marred by Waimoku Falls dislodging rider Ashvin Goindasamy in the back straight. The Sacred Falls filly continued riderless and took Tannahill to the extreme outside rounding the home turn.

The former Waikato Stud stallion Sacred Falls, who tragically passed away in December 2019, will be represented by 13 individuals at the NZB National Yearling Sale at Karaka which starts on Sunday January 24. – NZ Racing Desk


Race Result - Karaka Million 3yo Classic LR 1600m

Ellerslie Track: Dead(4) Time: 1:33.78
T: M Baker & A Forsman J: L G Innes 56.5
3g Sacred Falls (NZ) x Toss Up (NZ) (Zabeel (NZ))
NZB Karaka Book 1 $150,000
V:Waikato Stud Ltd
B: Mr AC Forsman
T: J W Richards J: D S Johnson 54.5
3f Savabeel (AUS) x Hopscotch (NZ) (O'Reilly (NZ))
NZB Karaka Book 1 $300,000
V:Waikato Stud Ltd
B: Mr DC Ellis
Montre Moi
T: J Benner & H Wynyard J: L J Allpress 56.5
3g Showcasing (GB) x Next (GB) (In The Wings (GB))
NZB Karaka Book 1 $67,500
V:Brighthill Farm
B: Benner Racing / Phill Cataldo Bloodstock (BAFNZ)
On Display
T: D A Walker J: S T Collett 56.5
3g Showcasing (GB) x Gatestopper (NZ) (Carnegie (IRE))
NZB Karaka Book 2 $30,000
V:Haunui Farm
B: Brookby Stables
Perfect Scenario
T: J W Richards J: V A Colgan 56.5
3g Iffraaj (GB) x Rosetti Bay (NZ) (Pins (AUS))
NZB Karaka Book 1 $165,000
V:Woburn Farm
B: Mr DC Ellis
Dragon Queen
T: M Moroney & P Gerard J: T Yanagida 54.5
3f Sweynesse (AUS) x Happy Endings (NZ) (Tavistock (NZ))
NZB Karaka Book 3 $50,000
V:Brighthill Farm
B: New Zealand Chinese Jockey Club / Paul Moroney Bloodstock
Lord Ardmore
T: S J McKee J: S C Spratt 56.5
3c Reliable Man (GB) x Outshine (NZ) (Darci Brahma (NZ))
NZB Karaka Book 1 $65,000
V:The Oaks Stud
B: Go Racing
Zee Falls
T: S B Marsh J: C J Grylls 54.5
3f Sacred Falls (NZ) x Zelitist (NZ) (Zabeel (NZ))
NZB Karaka Book 1 $130,000
V:Waikato Stud Ltd
B: Marsh Racing
Screamin Eagle
T: Ms D Guy J: D J Danis 56.5
3g Pins (AUS) x Youtoofast (NZ) (Fast 'n' Famous (AUS))
NZB Karaka Book 2 $85,000
V:Little Avondale Stud
B: Upstage Bloodstock
Bella Button
T: P & D Williams J: M J Mc Nab 54.5
3f Proisir (AUS) x Miss Thorn (NZ) (Thorn Park (AUS))
NZB Karaka Book 2 $50,000
V:Rich Hill Stud
B: Messrs DE & EY Nakhle
Supreme Khan
T: J W Richards J: T N Harris 56.5
3g Mongolian Khan (AUS) x Angelica Hall (NZ) (Guillotine (NZ))
NZB Karaka Book 1 $160,000
V:Windsor Park Stud
B: Mr DC Ellis
T: Andrew Campbell J: W F Pinn 56.5
3g Star Witness (AUS) x Cruise Control (AUS) (Sebring (AUS))
NZB Karaka Book 2 $24,000
V:Blandford Lodge
B: Mr AR Campbell
T: A C Baker J: C W Johnson 54.5
3f Dalghar (FR) x Lady Euro (NZ) (Perfectly Ready (AUS))
NZB Karaka Book 3 $12,000
V:Brighthill Farm
B: Mr AC Baker
Invisible Spirit
T: J Benner & H Wynyard J: S R Weatherley 56.5
3g Charm Spirit (IRE) x Invisible Coin (AUS) (Redoute's Choice (AUS))
NZB Karaka Book 2 $45,000
V:Landsdowne Park Ltd
B: Bruce Perry Bloodstock (BAFNZ)
T: E & D Browne J: T D Thornton 54.5
3f Kermadec (NZ) x San Cristobel (NZ) (Fastnet Rock (AUS))
NZB Karaka Book 1 $52,000
V:Hallmark Stud
B: Boon
Inglis Great Southern Sale - Weanlings $52,000
V:Tyreel Stud, Agnes Banks, NSW
B: Randwick Bloodstock Agency Pty Ltd (FBAA)
Edge Of Wonder
T: Team Rogerson J: J Parkes 56.5
3g Tavistock (NZ) x Wonderworld (AUS) (More Than Ready (USA))
NZB Karaka Book 1 $260,000
V:Westbury Stud
B: Rogerson Bloodstock
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