Who Will Make the 2012 Karaka Million Field?

Tuesday 24 January 2012, 8:47AM

By New Zealand Bloodstock



After an exciting build-up over the last few months, the field for this Sunday's $1 million Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) (Res.L) - New Zealand's richest race - will be finalised on Wednesday with nominations closing [today] 24 January, at midday.

With the final field of 14 determined by prize money won, Saturday's two-year-old contests at Trentham and Counties were the final opportunities for Karaka Million nominated horses to earn valuable stakes in an effort to gain a coveted start in the $1 million two-year-old feature. With those races completed, the field is now poised to take shape.

The John Sadler trained filly Sell in May (NZ) (Starcraft) heads the Order of Entry for the race with prize money of $56,172. She is one of two Australian trained horses aimed at the race, with the Anthony Freedman trained Ockham's Razor (NZ) (Any Suggestion) also heading to the event. The pair will have their first look at the Ellerslie track at 7am tomorrow morning.

Leading New Zealand trainer John Sargent could have as many as five entries in the final field. Sargent has gone close to winning the Karaka Million with Banchee (Oratorio) in 2010 and Super Easy (Darci Brahma) who ran fourth last season.

Heading Sargent's entries on the Karaka Million Order of Entry is Marechal (General Nediym) with $12,800 in stakes after winning at Otaki and running fourth in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes. Sargent also has Taoist Master (Any Suggestion) in 12th place and Choice Bro (Choisir) and Deakes (Shaft) in 14th and 15th respectively. With the $800,000 Irish Rebel having already been declared a non-starter for Sunday's event, in favour of the Group 1 two-year-old races in later in the season, Deakes looks certain to earn a start.

With a Karaka Million start for these four horses looking likely, Sargent also has Magic Shaft (Shaft) in 17th position, and final nominations will show whether the horse makes the final field.

With the vendor of the winning horse receiving $10,000 of the winning cheque, Haunui Farm and Trelawney Stud have the best odds, with both having two graduates in the race. The Haunui graduate Hogwart's Express (Elusive City) earned her place in the top 14 on the Order of Entry after placing
third in Saturday's Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes. She is joined by fellow Haunui graduate Freedom (O'Reilly), one of two Stephen McKee trained runners in the top 14.

McKee also has Silver City (Nothing to Lose) who is in third place on the Order of Entry after winning the Listed Wellesley Stakes back in October. The trainer may yet squeeze in a third entry if Dreamcoat (Coats Choice) can make the field; the filly is currently 16th on the Order of Entry.

Trelawney Stud is represented by the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes winner Warhorse (General Nediym) who will likely be ridden by New Zealand jockey Mat Cameron, and Silk Pins (Pins) who won impressively on debut at Ellerslie in October.

Graham Richardson's stable is in fine form this season and he intends to make a return trip to Ellerslie with Green Wings (Dr Green) who has won his last two starts, his last being at Ellerslie on January 14, where he led all the way for a one-and-a-quarter length win.

The Kevin Hughes & Dean Wiles trained Mai Guru (Ishiguru) also looks set to contest the Karaka Million after a smart last start win at Woodville. Should Mai Guru be entered into the race, he will be the first horse that has been purchased from the Ready to Run Sale, having been pinhooked from the National Yearling Sales, to make the Karaka Million field.

With 2012 only seeing the fifth running of the race, General Nediym will be the only sire who has a chance of siring another Karaka Million winner this year. General Nediym sired the 2010 Australian raider Sister Havana and has two two-year-olds in the top 14 on the Order of Entry, Warhorse and Marechal.

The race will also feature heavy interest from leading Australian jockeys including Hugh Bowman, Dan Nikolic, Craig Williams and Ben Melham who are all looking at taking mounts for the race.

The final fields for the Karaka Million and the Karaka 3YO Mile will be posted on New Zealand Bloodstock's website on Wednesday immediately following the barrier draw, which will be announced live on Radio Trackside by Peter Earley and Butch Castles at 12.10pm.

The Karaka Million Twilight Meeting will be held at Ellerslie Racecourse this Sunday 29 January from 5pm. For tickets visit
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