Brooks front and centre among excited vendors in Ready to Run countdown

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  • November 14, 2022
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With New Zealand thoroughbreds excelling offshore and overseas buyers flocking back after a two-year absence, vendors have plenty of reasons to be upbeat in the countdown to this week’s New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale at Karaka – and none more so than Kit Brooks.

Selling at only its second Ready to Run Sale, Brooks’ KB Bloodstock has received one of the most coveted pedigree updates from the Melbourne Spring Carnival. The Gr.1 Victoria Derby (2500m) winner Manzoice is a half-brother to the Shooting To Win filly that Brooks is offering as Lot 57.

“That’s pretty exciting, we got a bit lucky there,” Brooks said. “We’re very happy to be selling a couple of nice fillies for Stephanie (Hole, breeder), and now there’s a fair bit of excitement around that one in particular. Having a half-sister to a Derby winner in our draft is a fantastic opportunity.”

KB Bloodstock made a real splash in its Ready to Run Sale debut 12 months ago, selling eight two-year-olds for a total of $605,000 and an average price of $75,625. That first draft included Pungo, an impressive three-year-old winner for Chris Waller and Mr Mojo Risin’, who has gone on to place in this season’s Group Two Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) and Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m) for Andrew Forsman.

“To have some black-type success like that so quickly has been very cool for us,” Brooks said. “I’m really happy for the Carters (owner-breeders of Mr Mojo Risin’) and Andrew Forsman (trainer), and it’s so enjoyable to be able to watch the progress of these horses that have come out of our draft.”

KB Bloodstock’s draft has grown from 12 last year to 17 in 2022, and Brooks is delighted with how his second consignment is shaping up – particularly with the prospect of a bumper contingent of overseas buyers returning to Karaka after being kept away by two years of COVID-19 border closures.

“I’m pretty happy with this year’s draft, I think we’re heading to Karaka with a lot of very nice horses to sell,” Brooks said.

“Having the international buyers back is going to be a huge plus for the Ready to Run Sale and the New Zealand industry as a whole. It makes such a big difference to have them over, and it has been great to see some of those faces again.”

There were similar sentiments expressed by Sam Beatson, who is once again set to be one of the main players among Ready to Run Sale vendors next week.

“The overseas buyers seem to be back in pretty good numbers this year,” Beatson said. “It’s a bit of a different build-up to what we had in the last couple of years. Obviously the overseas buyers weren’t able to come then, but we had a whole lot of interest over the phone leading into the sale. It’s been a bit quieter on that front this time around, but I’m picking that’s because they’re going to be here in person to see the horses for themselves. That’s something that vendors are really excited by.”

Beatson only established Riversley Park in 2015 but has dominated headlines at the Ready to Run Sale ever since, claiming the title of leading vendor in all of the last five sales and boasting a graduate roll of honour that includes Hong Kong champion Golden Sixty.

“I think we’ve got a nice bunch of horses in our draft this year, and it’s a nicely varied group,” Beatson said.

“We’ve got horses at all levels – proven sires, first-season sires, stayers, sprinters and milers – so I’m hoping there’ll be something for everyone.”

The largest draft at this year’s sale belongs to Westbury Stud, who have scaled up their Ready to Run Sale involvement due to circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Westbury’s general manager Russell Warwick is pleased to have the opportunity to sell such a large group of two-year-olds at Karaka this month, and particularly after the Westbury-bred Sharp ‘N’ Smart took out last month’s Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) to become the latest in a long line of Group One winners sold through this internationally respected sale.

“This sale continues to prove that it’s the superior sale of two-year-olds in this part of the world,” Warwick said. “Its record speaks for itself with the number of Group One winners it’s produced, the most recent one being our very own Sharp ‘N’ Smart last year.

“We’re going to end up with just over 40 going through the sale this year, which is a bit of an increase on our drafts in the last few years.

“It’s a bit of a hangover from Covid and not being able to sell as many horses as we normally would before this point, so we decided to take them through to the Ready to Run Sale as spring two-year-olds.

“I’m pretty happy with the group of horses we’ve put together, and pleased with how they all breezed up.

“With Westbury’s sires such as Redwood, Reliable Man and Tarzino all performing very strongly in recent months, the timing is good and it bodes very well for the sale.”

Eion Kemp, who has 25 horses catalogued under his Kilgravin Lodge banner, is another vendor in a positive frame of mind in the lead-up to the sale.

When wet weather wreaked havoc through the early spring, Kemp applauded the decision to postpone the Te Rapa breeze-ups by two weeks rather than shift them to the Cambridge synthetic track.

“I’m a big advocate for the grass,” he said. “Horses race on grass and should breeze up on grass. There was a bit of noise about the synthetic, but I think they made the right decision.

“The extra two weeks may have been a little detrimental to some horses, but on the other hand it benefited others. All in all, it wasn’t a huge impact for us – we just had to give them an extra little run-along to keep them ticking over.

“I’m expecting the sale to be good. There’s speculation about how big the yearling sale is going to be, but this is the first major sale where overseas buyers can come back in full numbers, and I’m expecting a very big turnout.

“I think our draft stacks up pretty well with ones we’ve offered previously, if not better. We’ve had a bit of a tail in our draft in some years, and I don’t think that’s as evident in what we’re offering this year. It’s a very nice draft overall.”

The Ready to Run Sale will be held at Karaka on Wednesday and Thursday, with selling starting at 11am each day. – NZ Racing Desk

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