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The $200,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Karaka 3YO Mile field is
rapidly taking shape, with less than two weeks to the inaugural running at
Ellerslie on 31 January.
The sponsor of this year's race, New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance, has
stepped up to the plate with the generous support of its UK Underwriters.
NZB Insurance Manager Jim Bruford said the Underwriters are delighted to be
supporting their New Zealand clients by sponsoring at this exciting event.
"NZB has an excellent, longstanding relationship with the London Insurance
Market insuring bloodstock all over the world, insuring many of the star
racehorses in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.
"Our staff here at NZB have many years of experience in the bloodstock
insurance market, and we've developed a reputation for excellence in
placing difficult risks, and paying claims, in a discerning market where
client confidence in quality of service and security of cover is paramount.
Our Underwriters are key to us providing that superior service and we're
thrilled to have them on board at the Karaka Million Twilight Meeting."
The first $200,000 Karaka 3YO Mile has drawn some of New Zealand's
leading three-year-olds, as well as some promising up-and-comers.
The field, which is based on NZTR ratings with the lowest ratings being
eliminated until a maximum field of 18 is determined, will be headed in
2010 by Stephen McKee's Group 1 winning juvenile Kaaptan (Kaapstad). He has
85 rating points and will head the field after the defection of Katie Lee
(Pins) who will focus on the NZB Filly of the Year Series.
Following closely behind this pair is Peter McKay's Group 2 Avondale
Guineas (1600m) winner Joey Massino (O'Reilly) who will race this weekend
in the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) before backing up into the Karaka
3YO Mile in just under a fortnight.
Fellow Group 2 winner Keyora (Bachelor Duke) will also take his place in
the field for John Wheeler if fit and well, while Mike and Paul Moroney's
star Bachelor Duke three-year-old Prince of Wales will line up after being
pipped at the post in the Group 2 Great Northern Guineas at his last start.
A decision on Peter Moody's trans-Tasman assault with Encosta Belief
(Encosta De Lago) will be made later in the week after the gelding easily
dispatched of his rivals again on Saturday in Melbourne. The win now gives
Encosta Belief a Melbourne option as a lead up to the $2,000,000 Group 1
Telecom NZ Derby on 6 March.
The Mark Walker stable is well represented with two probable starters
including Group 1 placed juvenile Corsage (Volksraad) and promising staying
type Martial Art (Tiger Hill). Opie Bosson has been confirmed as the rider
for Corsage while Martial Art will be partnered by James McDonald.
The John Sargent stable has confirmed last start Ellerslie mile winner Pure
Cruising (Pure Theatre) and Group 2 Eight Carat Stakes placed Blonde
Bombshell (Towkay) as starters, while No Emotion (Savabeel) will also be
nominated with the hope of making the field.
Promising fillies Loviste (Black Minaloushe) and November Rain (Stravinsky)
are both possibles rather than probables, while NZ Derby bound Tanha Strike
(Octagonal), a last start Ellerslie winner for Bruce Wallace, and Time
Keeper (Stravinsky), placed in the Group 2 Great Northern Guineas, are both
set to be a part of the 18-horse field.
At this stage 70 rating points looks a possible cut-off which should see
Yves Seguin's Group 1 Levin Classic placed Green Supreme (Oasis Dream),
Richard Yuill's Kilkenny (Volksraad), Roger James and Paul Mirabelli's
Shigeru (Ishiguru), Karen Fursdon and Gemma Sliz's Walk Away (Van
Nistelrooy), Dean, Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs' C'mon Cuba (Thorn Park) and
Allan Sharrock's Ballybit (Spartacus) get runs if they decide to target the
Likely on the cusp of a start are Bejewelled (Pins), Belle De Jeu (Not a
Single Doubt), Bewitch (Bachelor Duke), The Party Stand (Thorn Park), and
Volgus (Volksraad) who all currently have 69 rating points.
The $200,000 Karaka 3YO Mile is Race 3 on the six-race card, and should
prove the perfect stepping stone towards the Group 1 NZ Derby for many.
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