Review of the 2024 Karaka yearling sale

An influx of Hong Kong buyers boosts the market.

Te Akau Racing's David Ellis was the leading buyer for the 19th consecutive year. Lot 360 was purchased for $825,000. The highest priced colt of the sale. (Photo: New Zealand Bloodstock)

Tim Whiffler



At the conclusion of the 2024 Karaka yearling sale -Book 1, NZ Bloodstock’s Managing Director, Andrew Seabrook expressed his delight: “At the start of the week, I said if we could match last year’s results, we’d be very satisfied.”

Such a comment reflected a downturn in the Australian market over the last two years.

He continued: “The turnover this year was up by $NZ9.5M, just shy of $80M, a 14% increase on last year. The average price was $168,257 an 11% increase on last year.”

The statistics over the last three years reveal something interesting, while the average price may be up the median price this year went down.

  Average Price Median
2024 $168,257 $120,000
2023 $151,980 $130,000
2022 $146,808 $100,000

*subject to 15% GST

What this is indicative of is a stronger demand for the upper end of the market. Last year only 6 yearlings sold for $500,000 or more. This year there were 17.

Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis bought 28 yearlings making him once more the leading buyer. His total expenditure was $6,045,000, so the average was $215,892 which is above the sale average. Of these 28 yearlings there were two which cost more than $500,000.

They were:

Lot 360 b c Snitzel ex the stayer Rondinella(NZ) by Ocean Park. Trained by John O’Shea she ran second in the 2021 Sydney Cup. This colt was her first foal and cost $825,000. He was the highest priced colt of the sale.

Lot 224 br c I Am Invincible ex Midnight Revels by (Don Eduardo). Although herself unraced, Midnight Revels has produced Seabrook winner of the G1 ATC Champagne St. This colt was knocked down for $510,000.

There was however a group of buyers that had a bigger impact on this market than Te Akau Racing and they were a contingent of buyers from Honk Kong. It makes a lot of sense for the stables of Hong Kong to replenish their stock by buying at Karaka. At the Australian sales one must pay a premium for horses eligible for the various bonuses such as BOBS, QTIS and VOBIS. If a horse begins racing in Hong Kong, then there is no point to having to pay this premium. Thirty-nine colts or 15% of all colts sold went to buyers with “Hong Kong” after their names. These included six that went for $500,000 or more. At a time when racing in Macau is about to shut down and racing in Singapore is also ending, the Hong Kong Jockey Club made a statement about the future of racing there by buying eight colts.

They were:

Lot 210 b c by Kingman (GB) ex Marsden Cross (Ire) by Camelot $650,000
Lot 409 b/br c Savabeel (NZ) ex Simply You (NZ) by O’Reilly $620,000
Lot 460 br c Savabeel (NZ) ex Symphonic (NZ) by O’Reilly $310,000
Lot 290 b c Proisir (AUS) ex Palos de Lago (NZ) by Encosta de Lago $260,000
Lot 309 bc Capitalist (AUS) ex Piccatric (AUS) by Fastnet Rock $260,000
Lot 385 b c Wootton Bassett (GB) ex Semillon (IRE) by Australia $240,000
Lot 244 b c Per Incanto (USA) ex Monrecour (NZ) by Zacinto $200,000
Lot 256 b c Savabeel (NZ)- Navapura (NZ) by Jimmy Choux $160,000        

TOTAL SPEND:       $2,700,000

These colts will now be shipped across to Australia, broken in, educated, and assessed for resale potential as 3YOs. They will be offered by the Club to buyers in its annual International Sale scheduled for 2026. The horses are breezed up for public analysis and then auctioned a few days later. It is an International Sale because the Club will also be offering Northern Hemisphere yearlings which will have been bought for the same purpose.

The outlay by the HKJC was almost matched by the clients of Jamie Richards, who used to train for Te Akau Racing, before moving to Hong Kong for the 2022-3 season.  He bought six colts for a total of $2,370,000 and half of them make those top 17.

They include:

Lot 55 b c Zoustar (AUS) ex the smart mare Evalina (AUS) (by I Am Invincible). This is her first foal and cost $725,000.

Lot 397 br c by Per Incanto (USA) ex She’s Apples (Ire) (by Redoute’s Choice) cost $500,000 and

Lot 630 b c by Deep Field (AUS) ex Californiasurprise (AUS) (by I Am Invincible) cost $500,000.

The other 25 colts destined for Hong Kong collectively sold for $4,705,000. Only one of these made the top 17. Lot 146 b c by Super Seth (AUS) ex the proven producer Irion (NZ) (by Danroad) sold for $700,000.

These 39 colts fetched a total of $9,775,000 for an average price of $250,641 which is 49% above the sale average and contributed significantly to the sale’s success.

As keen as the Hong Kong buyers were to acquire colts, so too was trainer Peter Moody of Black Caviar fame, to acquire fillies. Moody bought eight lots at this sale of which six were fillies. These included the sale topper, Lot 21 ch f by Proisir (AUS) ex Donna Marie (NZ) (by Don Eduardo) knocked down for $1.6M. She is a full sister to Prowess who to date has raced 12 times for 8 wins (2 at G1 level and 3 at G2 level) as well as 3 placings and $1.5M in prize money. Whereas Prowess is a bay colour this sister is a chestnut and probably throws to Choisir, the sire of Proisir. After the sale Moody commented: “She’s an absolute princess. She is a full sister to a Group 1 winner, which is a bonus. She was the one we wanted and we are so glad to get her.” This was the only horse sold at this sale over the $1M mark. Moody is out to build up a stable which will concentrate its fire power on races restricted to females.

The Australian trainer who was “the big spender” ahead of Moody was Chris Waller assisted by bloodstock agent Guy Mulcaster, the man who selected Winx. The group bought 13 lots for $4,300,000 an average of $330,769. They too had bid on Prowess’ full sister but had “got blown out of the water.” Instead they bought the second highest priced filly at the sale for $900,000. This was lot 144 br f by Deep Impact’s son Satono Aladdin (JPN) ex Inthespotlight (NZ). She is a full sister to Japanese Emperor the only foal of the dam to race to date. He was beaten 0.6L by Legarto in last year’s G1 Australian Guineas. The Waller team also paid $550,000 for lot 62 a ch f by Justify (USA) ex Fair Isle by Fastnet Rock. This means that she is bred on the same cross as Storm Boy winner of this year’s MM 2YO Classic.

The highflying stables of the MM Sale, the Maher stable and the Waterhouse-Bott stable, bought but were subdued. Neither featured in the list of the top 11 purchasers by aggregate spend.


Lot 21 ch f Proisir ex Donna Maree $1.6M
Lot 144 br f Satono Aladdin ex Inthespotlight $900,000
Lot 513 b/br f Wootton Bassett ex Via Napoli $800,000



Lot 360 b c Snitzel ex Rondinella $825,000
Lot 55 b c Zoustar ex Evalina $725,000
Lot 146 b c Super Seth ex Irion $700,000



Proisir 33 lots offered 27 sold $274,444
Savabeel 49 41 $261,463
Satono Aladdin 15 14 $234,643
Ardrossan 10 8 $182,500



Snitzel 3 offered 3 sold $475,000
Justify 5 3 $373,333
Wotton Bassett 9 7 $328,571
So You Think 7 6 $219,167

* with at least 3 or more lots

LEADING FIRST SEASON SIRE (excluding Wootton Bassett)          

Hello Youmzain 38 offered 34 sold $171,324
King’s Legacy 8 8 $134,063
Circus Maximus 32 20 $ 92,900
Bivouac 9 7 $ 89,286

(data from

Hello Youmzain ‘s stock were well received by the market and their average price was above the sale average. The top lot was 438 b c ex Steer By the Stars (Ire) bought by the Waller team for $425,000. It will be interesting to see how this colt develops. He is the fifth living foal of the dam but his dam has already produced a LR winner. It was sired by Kodiac the sire also of Hello Youmzain.


Tim Whiffler






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