IN Racing
Ready to Run record-breaker bound for Hong Kong
Thursday’s second day of the 2023 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale saw a new all-time record price of $825,000 for a Star Turn colt whose future lies in Hong Kong.
NZ Racing Desk | November 23, 2023
Lot 376, a slick colt by Star Turn was the sale-topper at $825,000. (Trish Dunell)

Thursday’s second day of the 2023 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale saw a new all-time record price of $825,000 for a Star Turn colt whose future lies in Hong Kong.

The colt was catalogued as Lot 376 and went through the Karaka sale ring in the last 30 minutes of the sale’s final day. Offered by KB Bloodstock, the colt is closely related to the four-time Group One winner Criterion and had clocked 10.24 seconds in a slick breeze-up.

The record-breaking colt was bought by Hong Kong owner Pato Leung, who was represented at Karaka by trainer Benno Yung and his daughter Samantha.

“We’ve looked at a lot of good horses at the sale today, and the Star Turn really stood out to us,” Samantha Yung said. “He’s a really nice mover and has a very strong build.

“He has a great temperament from what we’ve seen so far. The amount that we paid may have been a little more than we were expecting, but we feel that he will do well for the owner.

“Star Turn has been doing well in Hong Kong, and that’s another reason why we were interested in buying this horse.

“We do think that he’ll be a powerful sprinter, but with time, he may be able to go further as well.”

Lot 376 was the second time on Thursday that the $800,000 sale-topping price from Wednesday’s opening session was either equalled or surpassed.

Earlier on Thursday, Hong Kong bloodstock agent Willie Leung went to $800,000 to secure Riversley Park’s gelding by All Too Hard out of the Mossman mare Tuscany Lady. The gelding was catalogued as and had breezed up in 10.34 seconds. He was bought on behalf of owner Mr Yeung Kin Man, with the Yungs as underbidders.

“Mr Yeung has about 10 horses racing in Hong Kong already and he is a genuine racing fan and would love to have more good horses in Hong Kong,” Leung said. “That’s why he wanted to go for some stock here, so we can go through the selection process to find a Group One horse.

“They will be here for education and training and then we’ll do some assessment. They will probably be ready to go, but some will need to be qualified as a PP for Hong Kong and so we’ll keep them racing here.

“All Too Hard is a very consistent and useful sire in Hong Kong, and the Group One winner Wellington has performed really well in Hong Kong and on grass and synthetic and so he suits Hong Kong. This one looks really precocious, and so hopefully we can get him going to Hong Kong early next season.

“It’s a good sale with plenty of good horses, and New Zealand Bloodstock did a great job to bring a lot of Hong Kong buyers and that’s probably why the market is so strong. There’s strong competition between Hong Kong owners. It’s a good sign that there’s so many owners willing to spend on quality stock.”

It means that all of the sale’s three-sale toppers were snapped up by Hong Kong buyers. Wednesday’s $800,000 top lot, a colt by Harry Angel from the draft of Kilgravin Lodge, was bought by Tartan Meadow Bloodstock in partnership with agent Andrew Williams.

Thursday’s highest-priced purchase by an Australasian-based buyer was Lot 298, a Super Seth half-sister to this year’s Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) winner and Gr.1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) runner-up Kovalica. The Kilgravin Lodge filly was bought by Queensland’s Laming Racing and John White Bloodstock for $700,000.

“She was a standout on looks,” Richard Laming said. “She was one of my top picks. We valued her up to $600,000 and had to go a little bit more than that, but we’ve got a really nice filly.

“She’s a proper horse. She’s got a nice action, she breezed up great. She has a very good attitude and was nice and relaxed in the ring, so we’re very happy to get her.

“We like Super Seth. We’ve got a couple we bought as yearlings that go good. We came over here to buy another nice one, and she’s got a great pedigree, great residual and she’s an outstanding individual. She breezed up good. She had plenty going for her.

“She’s a half to a Group One winner who’s a very good horse, so she’s got that scope to hopefully show some of her brother’s ability.”

The Super Seth filly headlined a mixed couple of days for Laming, whose other purchases included the $550,000 Contributer half-brother to Hong Kong’s superstar sprinter Lucky Sweynesse. However, he was also underbidder on a Written Tycoon colt that was bought by Blandford Bloodstock for $725,000.

“We also bought Lot 303 – a Reliable Man filly for $35,000,” Laming said. “We liked the pedigree. There’s a lot of winners on the page. She’s a horse that will need time, she’ll stay over here for about six months and will probably go out now. But we like the Reliable Man fillies, we’ve got a couple that we like, so we took a punt on a cheap one.

“We really liked Lot 45 on the first day – we had a good go at him. He was well sold and well bought. We managed to come away with a really nice colt yesterday, the half to Lucky Sweynesse. He’s a cracker and we thought we got him at a good price, so overall we’re very happy.”

Richard Laming Lucky Sweynesse Super Seth Star Turn KB Bloodstock Criterion Pato Leung All Too Hard Riversley Park Willie Leung Kilgravin Lodge Harry Angel Kovalica Reliable Man