History was made at Karaka on the first day of the 91st National Sales when Godolphin purchased its first yearlings at a New Zealand public auction.
John Ferguson, Godolphin’s chief executive and racing manager, signed for two cracking fillies by dual New Zealand champion sire Savabeel. Both will be shipped to Australia and put in training with John O’Shea in Sydney.
Ferguson paid A$750,000 for Lot 58, the brown filly out of Banchee (Oratorio), and A$120,000 for Lot 104, the bay filly out of Croix du Sud (Howbaddouwantit).
He explained that a growing awareness of the strength and depth of New Zealand bloodstock, and its great success on the racetrack, had sparked overdue Godolphin interest in the sale this year.
“John O’Shea has 220 horses in training for us in Australia, but the one thing missing are those outstanding New Zealand bloodlines,” Ferguson said.
“We have always had great respect for what is happening in New Zealand.
“I believe its success is based on three major factors — the land, with its rich pasture, the people involved, who have a history of being great stockmen, and the breeders, who have proven themselves wise investors in pedigree,” he pointed out.
Ferguson, on his first visit to Karaka, sat next to New Zealand prime minister Bill English at an official lunch on the opening day of the sale, which stretches to three books, totalling 1347 lots. The sixth and final day is next Sunday.
Darley, the breeding operation of Godolphin, are represented by three stallions in New Zealand, namely Iffraaj, who stands at Haunui Stud, Karaka, and newcomers Contributer and Complacent, who are resident at Mapperley Stud, Matamata.
Ferguson said that the fillies he bought would be destined to become broodmares when their racing days were over. He stressed the importance of introducing new bloodlines to strengthen the Godolphin broodmare band in Australia.
All lots at the Karaka sales are eligible for entry to the Karaka Million and associated races, and the win of Melody Belle in Sunday’s latest renewal will be fresh in the minds of buyers this week.
Melody Belle is a daughter of the Darley stallion Commands, who died two years ago, out of an Iffraaj mare.