On both sides of the Tasman there is an all-conquering stallion rewriting the record books and creating a powerful and enduring legacy. Both of those stallions are set to play a big role at Karaka 2019.
In New Zealand, that stallion is Savabeel (Zabeel). The Waikato Stud supremo has topped all of the last four New Zealand sires’ premierships, and he has already opened up a commanding lead in 2018-19 ($1.66 million, with his nearest challenger on $991,521).
Savabeel has made New Zealand thoroughbred history with an unprecedented clean sweep of stallion awards for domestic, Australasian and worldwide earnings in all of the last three seasons.
He is the sire of 17 individual Group 1 winners, over the 1200 metres of the two-year-old Sistema Diamond Stakes (Sword Of Osman) to the 3200 metres of the Auckland Cup (Sangster).
Kawi won an incredible seven Group 1 titles, while Lucia Valentina and Sangster claimed three each.
Karaka had been an exceptional source of top-quality sons and daughters of Savabeel, with 12 of his Group 1 winners going through the ring as yearlings – Lucia Valentina, Sangster, Soriano, Scarlett Lady, Savvy Coup, Diademe, Sword Of Osman, Brambles, Savaria, Hasahalo and Embellish.
Savabeel has become one of the must-have stallions at Karaka, with six yearlings selling for $500,000 or more last year including his first million-dollar lot – $1.025 million for a colt out of the multiple Group 1 winner Katie Lee.
Savabeel is the sire of an impressive crop of 71 lots in Book 1 at Karaka.
Across the Tasman, stallion ranks are dominated by Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice). Commanding a service fee of A$220,000, the super-sire set an all-time Australian record last season with A$29.2 million in prizemoney – almost double his nearest challenger (I Am Invincible with A$15.9 million).
Snitzel is setting a record pace again in 2018-19, with in excess of A$13.8 million to his name and leading the sires’ table by more than A$5 million.
Snitzel yearlings have sold for up to $625,000 at Karaka in previous years, and three well-bred progeny will be offered in Book 1 of Karaka 2019.
The second-placed stallion on Australian charts is I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit), who is an exceptional sire in his own right. He sired 19 individual stakes winners in Australia last season, and incredibly he has already matched that tally in 2018-19.
He has also made his presence felt in New Zealand with the Group 1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas winner Media Sensation.
The catalogue for Book 1 at Karaka 2019 features three fillies and a colt by I Am Invincible.
In second spot on the New Zealand tables is Little Avondale’s Per Incanto (Street Cry), who has often been under-rated and is an outstanding source of winners. His 29 individual winners in this New Zealand season include four at stakes level, and he sired a remarkable black-type trifecta in the Listed Hallmark Stud Newmarket Handicap (1200m) during Ellerslie’s iconic Boxing Day races.
Six days after that, his daughter Santa Monica became his second individual Group 1 winner with victory in the Sistema Railway (1200m).
Per Incanto yearlings sold up to $370,000 at Karaka 2018, and there will be many opportunities to buy his progeny this year. Book 1 features 18 Per Incanto yearlings, with another 21 in Book 2.
Pins (Snippets) died last year at the age of 21, but his influence on Australasian breeding and racing will continue for many years to come. He is third on the New Zealand sires’ standings this year, with his three stakes winners including Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas hero Madison County and Group 2 Eight Carat Classic winner Pinmedown.
His top progeny include Hong Kong superstars Ambitious Dragon and Aerovelocity, along with Cox Plate winner El Segundo and the multiple New Zealand classic winner Katie Lee.
Pins is the sire of 21 yearlings in Book 1 of Karaka 2019.
The next three sires on the New Zealand premiership, Darci Brahma (NZ) (Danehill), Rip Van Winkle (Galileo) and Iffraaj (Zafonic), have all sired numerous racetrack stars sold through the Karaka sale ring and are represented again this year. Darci Brahma has 15 yearlings in Book 1 and 17 in Book 2, Rip Van Winkle has three in Book 1 and four in Book 2, and Iffraaj has 29 in Book 1 and 10 in Book 2.