IN Racing
The King reigns supreme at Karaka
David Ellis continued his domination of the auction ring at Karaka once again on the first day of the 2022 edition of the National Yearling Sale.
NZ Racing Desk | March 07, 2022
Photo: Trish Dunell

Te Akau Racing’s c continued his domination of the auction ring at Karaka once again on the first day of the 2022 edition of the National Yearling Sale.

Ellis, who has been crowned leading buyer at Karaka for more than a decade, struck early in proceedings picking up 12 of the first 100 lots offered including Lot 10, the Savabeel colt out of O’Reilly mare Thee Achiever offered through the Milan Park draft for $575,000 along with Lot 67, the Tavistock colt from Zabeel mare Ziffel for $500,000 offered through the Cambridge Stud draft.

By days end, Ellis had snapped up 17 youngsters all of whom will find owners through his popular Te Akau Racing branded syndications and he has not finished yet.

“We are over the moon with what we have bought and shares are selling in them very quickly,” Ellis said.

“We came here after inspecting them over the past three months, with the time commitment we have put in at record levels.

“We are really confident there will be some very good athletes that come out of this sale and we want to be here to buy them.”

While Ellis is well known for purchasing at the top end of the market, with the many and varied syndicates he offers, he is mindful of buying across a variety of price brackets.

“We bought a lovely Savabeel for $575,000 and a Tavistock for $500,000 but we also purchased a Rip Van Winkle filly for $40,000 (Lot 74), a Merchant Navy colt for $60,000 (Lot 85) and an All Too Hard filly (Lot 89) for $100,000,” he said.

“We have won the last six editions of the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) with horses purchased between $57,500 and $380,000, so the winners come in all shapes and sizes.

“We have bought across a variety of price ranges so everybody can afford to have a horse with Te Akau.

“I’ve been lucky to work with Joe Walls, the best judge of a horse I’ve ever met and in my team Marcus Corban, Jamie Richards and Mark Walker and between the five of us we have put in an enormous amount of thought into what we have selected and the effort we have put in is going to be rewarded as these are some superb horses.”

While delighted with the yearlings purchased on day one, Ellis had special mention for both the Savabeel colt (Lot 10) and the Tavistock colt (Lot 67) who will be guided through their careers by Mark Walker who has returned from Singapore to take the helm at Te Akau Racing with the imminent departure of current head trainer Jamie Richards to his new training role in Hong Kong.

“I am rapt to be able to secure these youngsters and particularly for Mark Walker, as for him to come home and see the quality of horses he is going to have to train, he is absolutely charged,” he said.

“He can’t believe the quality of staff we have and the horses in the stable, he is just so excited.

“These were two magnificent colts and typical of the quality stock that is available here at Karaka.”

While Ellis was the dominant force on the buying bench throughout the day, he did have to yield to Australian interests when attempting to secure Lot 161, the Savabeel colt from the Waikato Stud draft that was knocked down to Kacy Fogden, on behalf of Tony Fung and Annabel Neasham for $1 million.

“We didn’t have a set number that we wanted to buy, we had just identified a list of those we were interested in,” he said.

“He (Lot 161) was a lovely colt and we had put a value on him and we generally stick to that, so we couldn’t secure him on this occasion.

“We want the sale to be at its best as the more money there is the better it is for the breeders and for all of our racing, so we are delighted for Waikato Stud to see them achieve a sale like that.”

Ellis will be back in action when selling kicks off at 11am on Tuesday March 8.

Te Akau Racing David Ellis Savabeel O’Reilly Thee Achiever Tavistock Zabeel Classic Ziffel Cambridge Stud Milan Park Te Akau Racing Rip Van Winkle Merchant Navy All Too Hard Joe Walls Marcus Corban Jamie Richards Waikato Stud Kacy Fogden Annabel Neasham Tony Fung