International visitors will be back at Karaka 2023  Photo: Trish Dunell

Stage Set for Special Karaka 2023

NZ Racing Desk
21 November 2022

With a series of spring racetrack successes followed by a blockbuster Ready to Run Sale, the New Zealand thoroughbred industry has been on a high in recent weeks, and now New Zealand Bloodstock is keen to keep that momentum rolling right through to its main event – Karaka 2023.

A star-studded catalogue has been unveiled for the 97th National Yearling Sales Series, which this year returns to its traditional timeslot in late January. The stage is set for a six-day selling extravaganza, with Book 1 running from 29 to 31 January and Book 2 following right in its footsteps from 1 to 3 February.

The quality of the New Zealand thoroughbred has been clear for all to see on the big stage in Australia this spring, and Book 1 of Karaka 2023 will shine a spotlight on yearling siblings to the likes of A$10 million Golden Eagle (1500m) hero I Wish I Win, Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) winner and Cox Plate (2040m) runner-up I’m Thunderstruck and elite-level performers Mo’unga and Mr Brightside.

Karaka 2023 marks a return to normal following an unprecedented Karaka 2022, which was shifted to March due to restrictions arising from Covid-19 and was also closed to the general public.

Another impact of the pandemic in recent seasons has been the absence of international buyers, whose last visit to a Karaka yearling sale was in January of 2020. Last week’s successful Ready to Run Sale clearly showed what a difference that foreign flavour makes at the Karaka sales complex, and New Zealand Bloodstock is looking forward to welcoming a full complement of overseas buyers back through its doors in January of 2023.

“The Ready to Run Sale was very successful, particularly the second day, and it’s given us some real momentum as we build into our yearling sale in January,” NZB Bloodstock Executive Kane Jones said.

“And you combine that with a spring for the history books for Kiwi-breds and Karaka graduates in Australia. They’ve won at Group One level over a sprint distance with Roch ‘N’ Horse, over a staying trip with No Compromise and Sharp 'N' Smart, and scored many other major victories in between with horses the ilk of Callsign Mav, I’m Thunderstruck and Smokin' Romans.

“It’s been an outstanding few months that have really showcased the types of horses that we produce in this country, and now we’re really looking forward to offering another top-quality selection of yearlings at Karaka 2023.”

“I’ve done on-farm inspections of almost all of the yearlings already and have been very impressed with what I’ve seen.

“The standard is very high across the board. We can’t wait to showcase these horses in front of an international audience, which we’ll have back on site for a yearling sale for the first time in three years.

“It’s going to be fantastic, and we’re really looking forward to welcoming back some familiar faces and welcoming new ones as well,” he said.

The Karaka 2023 catalogues have strength in both numbers and quality, with an elite selection of 644 yearlings to go under the hammer in Book 1, followed by another 435 in a quality Book 2 offering.

There are over 100 siblings to stakes winners in Book 1, with the spring carnival stars highlighted above backed up by the likes of Noverre, Melody Belle, Cool Aza Beel, Mustang Valley, Explosive Jack, Kermadec, Lim’s Kosciuszko, Excelida, Dynastic, Vespa, Subpoenaed, Jennifer Eccles, Aloisia, Madison County, Lizzie L’Amour, Hezashocka and Tiptronic.

Book 1 also features sons and daughters of 89 stakes-winning mares, and it will showcase the progeny of a high-flying group of Kiwi sires who have starred on both sides of the Tasman this spring, such as Savabeel, Almanzor, Per Incanto, Proisir, Redwood, Vadamos and Ocean Park.

Proven Australian stallions are also well represented through the likes of So You Think, Extreme Choice, Capitalist, Deep Field, Dundeel, Fastnet Rock, Pierro, Russian Revolution, Written Tycoon and Zoustar.

Buyers will also get an early glimpse of the next generation, with yearlings by first-crop stallions Super Seth, Ten Sovereigns, Alabama Express, Blue Point, Castelvecchio, Cosmic Force, D’Argento, Dubious, Exceedance, Ferrando, Magna Grecia, Microphone, Omaha Beach, Royal Meeting, Pierata, Sneaking To Win, Strasbourg, Too Darn Hot, Wyndspelle, Yes Yes Yes and Zousain.

Graduates of New Zealand Bloodstock Sales have a racetrack record that speaks for itself in recent years, with 124 Group One victories and 568 stakes wins in the last five seasons alone.

Last season was a particularly notable one for Karaka graduates, who won 21 Group One races and a total of 99 races at black-type level.

International buyers wishing to physically attend the 2022 Ready to Run Sale can enquire about accommodation options by emailing [email protected] or [email protected]

Online bidding is available for all prospective purchasers via bidonline.nzb.co.nz, plus an extensive online catalogue that will host pedigrees, parade videos and photos, updates and important information to assist your buying decisions.

The catalogues for Karaka 2023 can be viewed online here.

Important Dates

  • 2023 Karaka Million Twilight Meeting – Saturday 21 January
  • Book 1 Sale – Sunday 29 January to Tuesday 31 January
  • Book 2 Sale – Wednesday 1 February to Friday 3 February

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