Nick Fairweather and Nicole Brown are looking forward to offering their sixth draft at Karaka next week under their Carlaw Park banner.
The couple founded the business in 2016 in partnership with Brown’s parents, Peter and Roslyn, and they have enjoyed building on those foundations and will offer their largest consignment of 18 yearlings in the Book 1 session of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling sale.
“We have been operating for just a tick over five years and this is our biggest consignment that we have had,” Fairweather said.
“We are really excited and we have got a really nice, consistent draft that we are really proud to present this year.”
From their boutique operation, they already boast a number of promising graduates.
“We just really wanted to focus on yearling preparation and spelling. We still want to keep to a smaller boutique draft,” Fairweather said.
“From the small numbers that we have had, we have had Lady Maroal, who is a stakes winner for Nigel Tiley, and Scribe, who is looking to be very promising.
“We are getting a lot of winners in Australia and locally. As long as the product keeps delivering, we will be very happy.”
Fairweather is also looking forward to continuing his association with his former boss, Sir Patrick Hogan, at this year’s sale.
“We are preparing four yearlings for Sir Patrick Hogan, three fillies and one colt,” he said.
“Having worked for him for a number of years, a lot of our preparation style and techniques are effectively based on his way. It is a privilege and honour to prep horses for him.”
One of the four that Fairweather is particularly interested in watching go through the ring is lot 583, the Iffraaj filly out of Simogramor.
The filly has received plenty of interest from potential buyers, including Graeme Rogerson, who earlier this week labelled her the best filly he had seen in the sale to date.
“She is a lovely filly and he (Rogerson) has obviously got ties with that family with (dual Group One winner) Katie Lee being the grandam,” Fairweather said.
“She is all quality. A lovely, loose walking filly that has got good bone and substance. She really catches the eye and has been really popular.”
Fairweather is also looking forward to offering lot 229, a U S Navy Flag half-brother to Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) winner Etah James.
“He is a very powerful, forward colt who has a nice, loose walk,” Fairweather said.
“He is by first season sire U S Navy Flag, who has been extremely well received. He sold quite well in Australia.
“Being a half to Etah James, he is going to really appeal to some of those Australians looking for a Classic-Cups horse. He has been very popular and has been well-received.”
Fairweather highlighted lot 181, the Headwater filly out of a half-sister to Group One winner Headway, and lot 363, the Exceed and Excel colt out of Lady Krovanh, as two other leading lights from his draft.
“The Headwater filly is an outstanding individual, one of the nicest fillies Nicole and I have pinhooked,” he said.
“She is a half-sister to Scribe, who was trained by Tony Pike and won two races before being sold to Hong Kong for huge money.
“She has been very well liked in the early stages of inspections.
“The Exceed and Excel colt is a half-brother to Dragon Pride who has won three of his four starts in Hong Kong, the most recent being last (Wednesday) night.
“He is a very dominant sort of horse - very strong and athletic.”
Fairweather said the sentiment on the ground at Karaka has been good, with Vendors having experienced a similar situation last year with international buyers unable to be physically present at the sales complex as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“The feeling has been very good,” he said. “A lot of the vendors have put a lot of time and effort into the videos and photos. NZB have marketed them accordingly and I think we have given Australian and International buyers a really good insight into the quality that we have to offer this year.
“Last year was a real unknown and it was successful, so I think that gave everyone a bit of confidence going into this year.”