All finalists have been confirmed for the New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards, reports NZ Racing Desk. The category winners, together with Horse of the Year and the NZTR award for Outstanding Contribution to Racing, will be announced at a black-tie dinner in Auckland, at Ellerslie Racecourse, on Sunday 26 August. The major categories are:
Click here to view full list of categories and confirmed winners.
Kiwi stayer Ladies First continues to make good progress as she prepares for a spring campaign aimed at the Melbourne Cup. "I'm pretty happy with her. She had six weeks in the paddock after she won the Auckland Cup then another six weeks pre-training with Jaimee-Lee Lupton before she came back to me," trainer Allan Sharrock told NZ Racing Desk. "She's surprisingly forward and I'm not doing a lot with her yet. She's not a robust mare." Sharrock said Ladies First (Dylan Thomas-Just Polite, by Dehere), who was last seen winning the Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m) in March, will make her seasonal reappearance in the open 1400 metres at Waverley on 18 August. "She'll then go to the three days at Hawke's Bay," Sharrock said. "She'll run in an open 1600 (September 1), then the open 2000 on the second day (September 22) and on to the Livamol Classic (2040m on October 6)." Sharrock added: "If she's going well and still on target, she'll then go over for the Moonee Valley Cup over 2500 metres, then it will be 10 days to the big dance, the Melbourne Cup."
Trainer Allan Sharrock has announced the Melbourne Cup program for talented Kiwi stayer Ladies First, reports NZ Racing Desk. Sharrock has mapped out five preparatory races for the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner in order to have her at her peak on the first Tuesday in November. "She'll run in an open sprint at Otaki and then the open mile race on the same day as the Makfi," said Sharrock. "Safely through that, it will be the open 2000m at Hastings and then I think she'll be competitive in the Livamol Classic. All going well, it will be the Moonee Valley Cup and straight into the Melbourne Cup." Sharrock said Ladies First (Dylan Thomas-Just Polite, by Dehere) was progressing well and that he didn't expect her to show form until she got out to 2000 metres.
Star stable-mates Kawi and Ladies First are making good progress ahead of their respective Spring campaigns, reports NZ Racing Desk. "Kawi's on the water walker at Robyn and Russell Rogers' place and he's coming along nicely," said trainer Allan Sharrock. "Ladies First has been on the walker for 10 days and she'll do 10 more before she goes to Jaimee-Lee Lupton's place and five weeks later she'll be back with me." Kawi was sidelined by a fetlock issue in the summer, while Ladies First was spelled after her courageous win in the Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m). She is being prepared for a Melbourne Cup campaign later this year.
NZ Bloodstock's upcoming Karaka May Sale has produced a cast of outstanding international performers in recent seasons with their individual sale histories reflecting the quality and value that can be found at the world-renowned Karaka Sales Centre. With 43 individual stakes winning graduates of the sale gaining a total of 71 stakes wins in the last five seasons, prospective buyers should follow this sale closely.
This year the Karaka May Sale will offer a total of 518 horses, comprising weanlings (294), yearlings (65), 2YOs (three), unraced Stock (two), racehorses (10) and broodmares (144). There will be the progeny of 65 stakes-winning dams, including 10 Group 1 winners, and siblings to 103 stakes winners of which 23 are at Group 1 level. Compacted into two days on 7 and 8 May, selling will commence at 10am each day. Click here to view catalogue.
Sporting a new name in 2018, the NZ Bloodstock Karaka May Sale is now available online. This year the sale has attracted increased numbers with a total of 518 horses catalogued. Compacted into two action-packed days of selling on 7 and 8 May, the first lot will go under the hammer from 10am each day. Day 1 will commence with the Yearling category with 65 lots to be offered, followed by the first half of the Weanling category with a further 185 lots going through the ring. Day 2 will start by offering the remaining 109 Weanlings (294 in total), followed by 2YOs (three), Unraced Stock (two), Racehorses (10) and Broodmares (144). In a new addition to the Yearling category, all yearlings entered are now eligible to be nominated for the lucrative Karaka Million Series which comprises of two $1 million races – the Karaka Million 2YO and the Karaka Million 3YO Classic – in addition to the $100,000 CollinsonForex Karaka Cup which they can contest for the duration of their career. In the last five seasons, 42 individual stakes winning graduates of the sale have amassed a total of 70 stakes wins across five racing jurisdictions – New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau. Momentum has continued into the current season with 10 individual graduates triumphing in 10 stakes races. Star graduates include three-time Group 1 winner Gingernuts, Gr1 Myer Classic winner I Am A Star, and recent Gr1 Auckland Cup winner Ladies First. There are a total of 51 vendors offering drafts at the Sale this year with the progeny from a wide selection of 141 sires, including 15 first season sires. There will be the progeny of 65 stakes-winning dams, including 10 Group 1 winners, and siblings to 103 stakes winners of which 23 are at Group 1 level. Click here to view catalogue.
Well performed Kiwi stayer Charles Road is set to make his Australian debut at The Championships in Sydney. Placed in the Gr2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) on New Year's Day, Charles Road (Myboycharlie-Giant Mystique, by Giant's Causeway) won the Gr3 City of Auckland Cup (2400m) before finishing sixth in the Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m) at his most recent outing. He was less than 1.5 lengths from the winner Ladies First in the Ellerslie feature. "We were pleased with his performance and he's just had a bit of a quiet time since and a freshen-up has done him the world of good," said Andrew Scott, who prepares the 4YO with Lance O'Sullivan. "If he comes through the next couple of weeks well we're going to take him to Sydney. He'll run in the Chairman's and all going well into the Sydney Cup." The Gr2 Chairman's Handicap (2600m) will be run at Randwick on 7 April with the $2 million Gr1 Sydney Cup (3200m) a week later.
At Ellerslie in New Zealand, European Horse of the Year and 6 time-winning shuttle stallion Dylan Thomas (Danehill-Lagrion, by Dieses) celebrated a Gr1 triumph when 5YO mare Ladies First (Dylan Thomas-Just Polite, by Dehere) scored by 0.1-length for trainer Alan Sharrock in the $500,000 Auckland Cup (3200m) for 3YOs+, defeating 5YO gelding Five To Midnight & fellow 5YO mare Wildflower. "She was posted three wide around one bend and then two bends and I said she can't win," Sharrock revealed. "I'm rapt, but I did think she had got beaten on the line. I'm a bit shocked really – I thought she had run second. They all thought she was a wet-tracker, but her last three wins have been on firm tracks." Ladies First, an $8,000 bargain buy at the 2014 NZB National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale, took her record to 9 wins (including last year's Gr3 Wanganui Cup) & 3 placings from just 16 starts for $480,760 earnings. Connections are now considering having a tilt at this year's Gr1 Melbourne Cup, however first she'll head to the paddock ahead of a possible start in the Gr1 Livamol Classic.
Allan Sharrock is predicting progressive staying mare Ladies First can graduate to Group One company in the future, reports NZ Racing Desk. “Long-term, the Auckland Cup will be the main aim and we’ll work back from there to see which races will be suitable for her,” the Taranaki trainer said. Ladies First (Dylan Thomas-Just Polite, by Dehere) has come a long way in a short time and following her easy 3.8 length win in the Listed Wanganui Cup she has been spelled at the property of owners Humphrey and Fiona O’Leary. The couple have already tasted Gr1 Auckland Cup success as part-owners of Who Shot Thebarman who was successful in 2014. “She’s got a rug on her back in a 25-acre paddock in the Whangaehu Valley,” said Sharrock, who was also a Cup winner in 2012 with Shez Sinsational. “I’d envisage her having a couple of months off and there are plenty of options for her, but I would love to give her one run right-handed at Ellerslie. That will give her a look around there before the Cup.” He added: “She’s a serious racehorse. She’s won six out of 10 starts and two at Listed level already.”
At Wanganui in New Zealand, European Horse of the Year and 6 time-winning shuttle stallion Dylan Thomas (Danehill-Lagrion, by Dieses) had further black-type success when 4YO mare Ladies First (Dylan Thomas-Just Polite, by Dehere) scored by 3.8-lengths for trainer Alan Sharrock in the NZ$50,000 Handicap Wanganui Cup (2040m) over 7YO gelding Zartan and 5YO gelding Pacorus. Backing up from her Rangitikei Gold Cup win two weeks prior, Ladies First improved her overall record to 6 wins and 2 placings from 9 starts for $119,125 earnings. She was an $8,000 bargain buy at the 2014 NZB National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale.
At Awapuni racecourse in New Zealand, European Horse of the Year & 6-time Gr1-winning shuttler Dylan Thomas (Danehill-Lagrion, by Diesis) added a black-type success when 4YO bay mare Ladies First (Dylan Thomas-Just Polite, by Dehere) earned some valuable black-type when saluting in the $50,000 Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup (1550m) for 3YO+, defeating Slimline & Zorrali. Purchased for just $8,000 at the 2014 NZB National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale, Ladies First improved her record to 5 wins and 2 placings from 9 starts for $87,875 earnings. Ladies First will now chaser further stakes success. "She's a very tidy mare and the owners want to win the Wanganui Cup, she's strong at the end of a mile so the 2000 metres will hold no fears for her," trainer Allan Sharrock told NZ Racing Desk.