The $800,000 Danehill Dancer colt Irish Rebel (NZ) has made the best of starts to his career on Saturday when winning his debut in the New Zealand Bloodstock 2YO Premier (1100m) at Awapuni.
Purchased by David Ellis from Cambridge Stud at the Karaka Premier Sale, Irish Rebel was acquired with the $1 million Karaka Million in mind, with Saturday's win keeping that plan on track.
"He is a very athletic colt, the ideal type of horse for the Karaka Million and we will be aiming him at the race," commented Ellis immediately after securing the horse in January this year.
Ridden by jockey Matthew Cameron, Irish Rebel (Danehill Dancer x Ballycairn) went straight to the lead from barrier five and was dominant in the straight, showing a good turn of foot and racing clear of the pack to win by three-and-a-quarter lengths.
Trained by Te Akau's Jason Bridgman, the colt showed from the beginning that he had some ability after running second in his first trial at Te Teko in September, and winning his second trial at Cambridge late last month.
Karaka Million nominated, Irish Rebel won $9,375 in stakes which takes him to sixth place on the Karaka Million (Res.L) Order of Entry. For graduates of the 2011 National Yearling Sales Series, a maximum field of 14 starters will get to line up in New Zealand's richest race.
A blue-blood colt, Irish Rebel is from the Zabeel mare Ballycairn making him a half-brother to the Group 2 winner Pure Harmony (Stravinsky) and Group 1 placed Galway Lass (Rhythm), the dam of the stakes winner Outdo (Exceed and Excel).
Zabeel's success as a damsire is evident, with 82 stakes winners, 16 at Group 1 level including Samantha Miss (Danehill), Darci Brahma (Danehill) and Anacheeva (Anabaa).
Zabeel currently heads the Broodmare Sires' Table by Earnings in Australia with $6.2 million from 281 runners, 125 runners less than Danehill who is currently in second place on $5.5 million. Zabeel also leads the New Zealand Broodmare Sires' Table with $888,887.
Danehill Dancer has four yearlings (3 colts & 1 filly) in the 2012 Karaka Premier Sale including:
http://www.nzb.co.nz/sales/sale.cfm?ped_search=lot&search=46&sale_id=159 the half-brother to the stakes placed Left Standing (Stravinsky) from the Group 3 winning Thunder Gulch mare Anatomy.
http://www.nzb.co.nz/sales/sale.cfm?ped_search=lot&search=163&sale_id=159 the colt from the Sadler's Wells mare Distinctly, a daughter of the Group 1 winner Infamy (Shirley Heights) and a sister to Group 2 winner Moon Queen and stakes winner Rostropovich.