Waikato Stud takes hon­ours at Karaka

Matamata Chronicle - - Property - DEN­NIS RYAN

Another Karaka Na­tional Year­ling Sale has been and gone and for the fourth year run­ning, Mata­mata’s Waikato Stud has led the way with fur­ther out­stand­ing re­sults.

After claim­ing a first Karaka Premier ven­dors’ ti­tle in 2014, a year after Cur­ragh­more Stud had ended Cam­bridge Stud’s three­decade ten­ure of top dog sta­tus, Waikato Stud again faced stern op­po­si­tion from the classy draft of­fered by Sir Pa­trick Ho­gan’s Cam­bridge op­er­a­tion.

While each went about the an­nual busi­ness of sell­ing their choic­est lots to the in­ter­na­tional buy­ing bench across the two days of the Karaka Premier Sale, no clear pic­ture was emerg­ing as two which of the ma­jor studs held the as­cen­dancy.

But when the two days of Premier were done and dusted, Waikato’s 45 lots had re­alised $8,415,000 ver­sus Cam­bridge’s 36 for $8,350,000.

With a touch of irony, nei­ther sold the top priced lot. That hon­our went to the Ruther­ford fam­ily’s boutique North Can­ter­bury op­er­a­tion Beltana, with an $825,000 re­sult for their brother to star Aus­tralian sprinter Sham­ex­press. But at least the sale-top­per was a son of Waikato Stud’s for­mer home-bred cham­pion O’Reilly, who died at age 21 in late 2014 and whose fi­nal crop went on sale last week at Karaka.

The very last of them to be of­fered at the Na­tional Year­ling Sale was in Waikato Stud’s draft for the sec­ond tier Se­lect draft. In a one-off cameo ap­pear­ance, he was led through the ring by O’Reilly’s long-time han­dler Dave O’Leary, and was knocked down for $200,000 to Roger James, the trainer of one of the stal­lion’s very best per­form­ers, New Zealand Derby winner Silent Achiever.

Sell­ing horses isn’t only about the best price, and just as it had been for Sir Pa­trick in 2015 when the last Zabeel year­ling went to auc­tion at Karaka, O’Reilly’s last of­fer­ing was an emo­tional event for the Chittick fam­ily.

‘‘He’s been so re­spon­si­ble for where Waikato Stud stands now in the mar­ket,’’ said Mark Chittick as he paid trib­ute to the cham­pion stal­lion. ‘‘We’ve been at the stud some 25 years and when we bought the place, as a go­ing con­cern, he was a foal on the prop­erty.

‘‘From that day he was a char­ac­ter and we’ve been through the highs and lows with him. It’s a sad old mo­ment be­cause he was part of the fam­ily, he was part of the es­tab­lish­ment.’’

Sav­abeel, who has suc­ceeded O’Reilly as Waikato Stud’s cur­rent cham­pion stal­lion, took top hon­ours amongst lo­cal sires with sales to­talling more than $11 mil­lion at an av­er­age price of $220,000 for 52 Premier lots.

On the other side of the Karaka equa­tion was the buy­ers, and like­wise in a sim­i­lar pat­tern to the ven­dors’ table Te Akau’s David Ellis set the pace. For the 12th year he topped the Premier table, sign­ing for 26 lots at a cost of $4,197,500 and adding another four in the Se­lect ses­sion for a to­tal spend of more than $4.5 mil­lion.

It’s an an­nual rou­tine for the Te Akau prin­ci­pal but by no means the end of the process and he sets about form­ing syn­di­cates around his Karaka shop­ping bag.

Var­i­ous other Mata­mata sta­bles were stock­ing up with qual­ity year­lings too.


The Sav­abeel filly from for­mer top race­mare Daf­fodil shared equal top price of $600,000 in Waikato Stud’s stel­lar draft at the Karaka year­ling sales.

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