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Bart Cumming's Karaka Premier Sale purchase Moatize earned a berth in tomorrow's Melbourne Cup with his win in the Group 3 Saab Quality (2500m) on what's touted as Australasia's greatest day of racing, the VRC's Derby Day at Flemington on Saturday.
The Saab attracted a quality field of 11 Cup hopefuls, including five Karaka graduates and resulted in a NZ-bred trifecta. Moatize (Danehill Dancer - Shezabeel by Zabeel) produced a sustained run down the middle of the track in the hands of the in-form Michael Rodd. He heads into the Cup with a realistic chance with his dam providing the Zabeel factor while his trainer has already secured 11 Melbourne Cup victories (including five quinellas). Sold through Denny and Mark Baker's Hallmark Stud, the 'Cups King' bid to NZ$105,000 to secure him.
Wellfield Lodge, who now own Moatize's dam, Shezabeel, in partnership with GW Rae have entered a half-sister to Moatize in the 2009 Karaka National Yearling Sales Series. The filly is by Group 1 sire Shinko King, who himself has Ces't la Guerre representing him in the Melbourne Cup.
Eight of the 24 horses in tomorrow's feature race are Karaka graduates.
Interestingly, the Saab Quality second and third placegetters also trace connections back to Karaka. Runner-up Light Vision (Zerpour - Switches by Naturalism) will also be represented by a half-sibling at Karaka in 2009 on account of Westbury Stud.
While the unlucky third-placed runner Capecover (Cape Cross - Set Up by Zabeel) was secured by Kevin Myers from the 2004 Select Sale for $40,000 from Tom and Shelley Murtagh's Esker Lodge.
Earlier in the day Dawned (One Cool Cat - Our Dawn Run by Sir Tristram) jumped into second place on the Karaka Million order of entry with a very promising debut fourth in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m). She finished over the top of the field in what was the first Australian two-year-old group race of the season.
The filly is owned by Patinack Farm and was bought by trainer Anthony Cummings earlier this year from Karaka's Premier Sale for NZ$420,000 from the Cambridge Stud draft. Cummings confirmed that the filly would make the trip over for the million dollar feature on Sunday 25 January providing everything was in order, both at home with the filly and on the Tasman border.