Ellis knocks out internationals and nails $1.75m colt Tue, 31 Jan 2012
David Ellis was once again the architect of a huge result for the New Zealand breeding and racing industry at Karaka this afternoon when he defied serious international money to secure the horse that was born to headline the National Yearling Sale.
The principal of the Te Akau racing operation had to go to $1.75 million to outbid the world powerhouse Coolmore and take home Lot 353, the Fastnet Rock colt from Nureyev’s Girl. The half-brother to former Te Akau-trained New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year King’s Rose had for a long time been the favourite to top this sale and in so doing he became the fifth highest-priced horse to be sold in the Karaka ring and the 23rd to make seven figures.
No-one better knows what it takes to top the list at a National Sale than Sir Patrick Hogan of Cambridge Stud, where today’s star was reared.
“It’s the first time that I’ve come out and said this colt will top the sale,” Sir Patrick said after the bidding had ended. “I knew the horse I had on my hands, he was something special.
“The progeny of his sire Fastnet Rock have been winning everything and the mare has already produced a Group One-winning filly who should have also won a Group One in Australia.
“Twelve months ago I would have said he could make $1 million, then everything fell into place at the right time and I knew he would make a lot more today.”
David Ellis was just as ebullient as he spoke in glowing terms of his latest seven-figure Karaka purchase. “I wanted this horse for New Zealand, it’s absolutely essential that we retain horses like him,” Ellis said. “Fastnet Rock is just a great sire and being a half-brother to King’s Rose he had everything going for him.
“If this colt can win a Group One race he’s worth real money.”
Ellis revealed that even though the bidding had opened at $400,000, he did not join in until it had reached $1.45 million. The serious players up to that point had been Coolmore’s Tom Magnier, whose group included colleague Colm Santry, renowned veterinarian Demi O’Byrne and recently cashed up New Zealand businessman Owen Glenn, and leading Melbourne trainer Peter Moody of Black Caviar fame.
Moody was the first to drop out and then it became a good old-fashioned stoush between Magnier and Ellis. Each time Magnier raised his catalogue Ellis declared his intentions ominously by coming straight back. The Coolmore man’s replies became increasingly hesitant and at $1,750,000 the gavel came down and Ellis had won.
When the handshakes were over Ellis said that the colt would return to Te Akau Stud west of Ngaruawahia to let down and be broken in before entering training with Jason Bridgman at the operation’s Matamata stables.
“I plan to put three or four colts in a syndicate,” Ellis explained. “He will definitely be one of them and once I’ve observed the other colts I’ve bought here back at the farm, I’ll decide which ones make up the package.”