Karaka bargain buys came to the fore at Doomben on Saturday with Mandela (Ebony Grosve x Wairongoa Belle) and Mirkola Lass (Prized x Gun Lady) producing a quinella in the Group 3 Chairman's Handicap.
Pukekohe based trainer Richard Yuill entrusted top jockey Darren Beadman to ensure Mandela overcame his wide barrier draw in the 2020 metre race. Doing just that, he proceeded to win by two-and-three-quarters of a length ahead of Kenny Rae's four-year-old mare Mirkola Lass.
The win is the fourth stakes win for the promising stayer who has now amassed over NZ$500,000 in prizemoney. Last season the five-year-old gelding took out the Group 3 Geelong Cup before finishing ninth in the Melbourne Cup.
Bred by Te Kauwhata based John Smith, Mandela was bought by bloodstock agent Paul Willets for NZ$1750 at the 2003 Karaka Festival Sale from Esker Lodge draft.
Mirkola Lass was bred by Robert Bennett and purchased by Phillip Chisholm for NZ$800 as a two-year-old at the 2004 Spring Bloodstock Sale from Fayette Park Stud. The mare has now won over NZ$160,000 in prizemoney with Saturday's run being her first start outside of New Zealand.
Saturday's duel is unlikely to be the last for Mandela and Mirkola Lass with Ruakaka-based Rae confirming that his honest mare will now head for the Premier's Cup on the 26 May with the ultimate aim being the Brisbane Cup at the revised distance of 2400m on 11 June.
Preceding the Karaka quinella, Paul O'Sullivan's NZ$50,000 purchase from Cottage Stables at the 2003 South Island Sale, Irish Sky (Stravinsky x Woodwind) was victorious in the Doomben Dash (1110m). Bred by New Zealand Bloodstock Chairman Joe Walls the five-year-old was ridden by Glen Boss for Michael Pitman to a commanding three-quarter-of a length win.
Saturday's success comes hot on the heels of regally bred New Zealand fillies Santagostino and J'Adane's winning performances in Queensland.
HK Rising Star Ever Bright
Paul O'Sullivan continued his winning ways at Sha Tin on Saturday, taking out in the HK$2,300,000 Queen Mother Memorial Cup HK-3 (2400m) with the Hong Kong's newest rising star Ever Bright (Cape Cross x Anna's Choice).
Danny Nikolic sat the four-year-old near the pace throughout the race and gradually wound down the pacemaker, Saturn (Marju x Delphinus), in the home straight prevailing over him by a neck, with Agility (Langfuhr x Malayo Girl) a further two-and-a-half lengths back in third.
Saturday's win brings Ever Bright's Hong Kong record to four consecutive wins and a second from five starts to amass HK$2,901,000 prize money for his owners Mr & Mrs Arthur Wong Chun Mo.
Bred by Jen Campin, Ever Bright was a NZ$115,000 purchase by Ginger Tankard's Waikato Bloodstock from the Chequers Stud draft at the 2004 Karaka Premier Sale. Lightly raced in New Zealand he was originally trained in Cambridge by Bryce Tankard and won once before transferring to Hong Kong.
Despite the victory, O'Sullivan is still seven wins behind premiership leader Casper Fownes, who also had a winner on Saturday.
Anna's Choice (by Vice Regal) has been a prolific broodmare, producing the successful performer Hades (by Zabeel) - who later raced as Helene Vitality in Hong Kong - and stakes performers Katchmekate (by Bakharoff) and (She's) Swan Lake (by Green Perfume).
A full-brother to Hades was purchased by Cambridge's Cherry Taylor for NZ$200,000 from Chequers Stud at this year's Karaka Premier Sale.