Petrea Vela

published: 16 Jan 2015 in Q&A

The two-day New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale will commence on January 26.

That is Australia Day but this will not prevent breeders, owners trainers and bloodstock agents crossing the Tasman Sea to be at Karaka.

The Premier will be followed by the Select sale from January 28 to 30 and the Festival sale on February 1.

Over the years these sales have produced a long list of Group 1 and black type winners which has resulted in Karaka becoming such a magnet for major players in the Australian and international racing industry.

With that in mind Stallions, in the first of a two-part piece, questioned NZB’s managing director, sales and marketing, Petrea Vela about confidence levels, the catalogue, O’Reilly’s passing

 and the sires with yearlings going into the series of sales.


Q.: How are confidence levels going into the sale

A.: We are coming off a record Ready to Run Sale, which saw strong international demand. That is a positive and comes from Kiwi horses having an outstanding season around the world and particularly in Australia, during the spring. As we all know, results speak the loudest so that is a good start. We are very happy with the catalogues and hopefully have the goods that buyers are after. Now it is just up to them.


Q.: As you mentioned the catalogues are looking particularly attractive

A.: We are very pleased with the way the catalogues have come together across all three sale sessions. The strength of New Zealand sires is pleasing. We have been seeing a surge in the results from our proven sires as well as the emergence of promising new sire talent. We are privileged at Karaka to attract the progeny of the best sires from both sides of the Tasman with a strong representation from the leading sires in Australia adding strength to the offering.


Q.: The representation of recently deceased sire O’Reilly must be a bitter-sweet situation

A.: It is very sad the O’Reilly has been lost to the industry. He had really gone to a new level in the last couple of seasons and it is no wonder he has made a clean sweep of the three sire awards in New Zealand for the past two years. The likes of Silent Achiever, Sacred Falls and Shamexpress are among the many outstanding performers to represent him. On that basis it is great to have O’Reilly so well represented at the sale and with brilliant his record he is popular with buyers from all over the world. His barnmate Savabeel is also a hot property, and the pair are at the head of the great depth that we have in the local ranks.


Q.: A number of New Zealand’s young sires are performing well

A.: The overall stallion quality is really developing strongly thanks to our young sires. Tavistock is a sire really on the up. He and Iffraaj are both producing topline horses in New Zealand that have exciting futures here and abroad. The likes of Alamosa and Mastercraftsman have already started to prove themselves with Group 1 performers in Australia. We also had an exciting bunch of first season sires last year, who have their first two-year-olds hitting the tracks now with pleasing results already. Some of the young sires such as Showcasing and Per Incanto are already looking like they will play a part in the Karaka Million.


Q.: The freshman sires list is obviously going to appeal to buyers

A.: There is always a lot of interest in the freshman sires each year, but this year has some particularly exciting highlights. Everyone gets the chance to see the first crop of So You Think, a horse very closely affiliated with Karaka being Kiwi-bred and bought at our sales before achieving great things all over the world. He is joined by another Kiwi champion in Jimmy Choux, along with an array of sires that shuttle to New Zealand. There has been a notable shift in New Zealand towards selecting horses that play to our real natural strength, by importing champion classic three-year-olds. The likes of Cape Blanco and Pour Moi were brilliant three-year-olds and have the potential to leave the same type of horse here. Add into the mix a selection of brilliant Australian freshman sires by predominant sires, sons of champion sires like Fastnet Rock and Exceed and Excel and it makes into a very exciting year.


Q.: Added to that there are good numbers by Australian sires

A.: We are in a unique position at Karaka in having a large representation of New Zealand sires and also a great representation of Australian sires. Many are represented through New Zealand-owned foals raised in Kiwiland but we are also well supported by Australian owners who identify the Karaka sale as a great option for their young stock. Australian sires are always well received here. As an example Fastnet Rock has provided the highest price at the sale for the last four years. The recent loss of High Chaparral is a terrible blow as he had a huge impact on the Australasian industry and particularly so in New Zealand. Four of his five southern hemisphere Group 1 winners were bred in New Zealand and the other was conceived here. He has had so much success out of our Karaka sales ring through the likes of So You Think and with his progeny now limited, it is great to see him so well represented at Karaka.










The annual series of New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales begins at Karaka with the presentation of 443 young thoroughbreds at the Premier offering on January 26 and 27.

This will be followed by Select sale from January 28 to 30, which has 591 yearlings catalogued, and the Festival, on February 1, when 328 lots are set to go under the hammer.

Over the last four seasons alone these sales have produced an incredible 64 Group 1 winners along with a host of other feature race winners in New Zealand, Australia and internationally.

As the sales draw close Stallions, in the second of a two-part piece, questioned NZB’s managing director, sales and marketing, Petrea Vela on mare statistics, likely features of each of the sales, the expected buying bench and star graduates.



Q.: What are the vital statistics on quality mares with yearlings

A.: The Premier sale alone has 90 lots from stakes winning mares, which is over 20 per cent of the catalogue. Plus, there are 114 siblings to stakes winners in the Premier sale, which is over 25 per cent of the catalogue.


Q.: Can you pinpoint likely highlights at the Premier

A.: Fastnet Rock has another strong draft of 16 lots this year. It is headed by a full-brother to recent Group 1-winning Karaka graduate First Seal. Savabeel is in hot demand right now, and he is represented by 49 Premier sale entries, while O’Reilly has 61 Premier lots including yearlings from Glamour Puss and Grand Echezeaux. Close relatives to the likes of Preferment, Sacred Falls, Shamrocker, Silent Achiever, Shamexpress, Vouvray, Brambles, High Chaparral and Zabrasive are among the many others offering a range of relations to Group 1-winning classic three-year-olds, sprinters, milers and stayers through to weight-for-age performers.


Q.: How is the Select sale shaping up

A.: The Select sale is an absolute standout that just keeps producing Group 1 winners and that is off an average of NZ$45,000. Last season saw another seven graduates of the Select sale win Group 1 races, only one fewer than the Premier sale. A horse like Shuka cost just NZ$20,000 and has now won two Group 1 races. A topline performer Australia is familiar with is Famous Sheamus, a NZ$70,000 graduate of the Select sale who has now won over A$1m. Every year there are really good horses coming out of this session and the quality heading to the sale this year is really exciting.


Q.: What will be the features of the Festival sale

A.: The Festival sale will be a one-day sale again this year. Last year’s one-day sale was very successful with key statistics all improving on the previous year. We have a large catalogue of 329 yearlings and will have an earlier start time of 10 a.m. To keep everyone’s energy levels up, NZB is hosting a barbeque and Happy Hour in the new Karaka garden bar later in the day so we will be full steam ahead right to the last lot.



Q.: Are you expecting strong support from Australia

A.: It is always great to see the strong support we receive from Australia. That was evident at the Ready to Run sale and we hope that trend will continue at the yearling sales. The enormous success of the Kiwi three-year-olds in Australia this season has, I think, caught the attention of people. New Zealand has a clearly defined niche in the “classic” market and Australian awareness of that is growing so we are hopeful that Australians will again be a force at Karaka.


Q.: What other countries will help make up the buying bench

A.: Asia is a significant market for NZB. Kiwi horses have great success in Singapore and Hong Kong and we always receive strong support from there. Kiwi star War Affair has been the best horse in Singapore of late and Aerovelocity’s victory at the Hong Kong International Race Day highlights a strong New Zealand showing there. The biggest market at last year’s sale series was the domestic market, which was great to see. We are starting to see a resurgence in domestic racing together with an increase of prize money, which is very positive. To help support the domestic market NZB is hosting an Open Day that will prove a “go-to” entry point for everyone, who has ever been interested in getting involved but have not known where to start. All in all this should give local buyers additional confidence at Karaka 2015.


Q.: The continuing success of graduates of these sales must help in promotion

A.:  Racetrack results are the ultimate advertisement, and we are extremely proud of the graduates from the sales like First Seal, Lucia Valentina, Preferment, Sacred Falls and so on. The results Karaka graduates achieve all over the world is a real credit to our breeders and preparers. Horses are given a great start to life in New Zealand and expert horsemanship is an integral part of that success. It makes our job at NZB a lot easier when sale graduates are performing at the highest levels. Results speak loud and we believe Kiwi horses are making buyers take notice of the noise coming from New Zealand.