Dream start for Elsdon Park

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  • January 31, 2023
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Newly established farm Elsdon Park are starting off as they mean to continue at Karaka.

The Matamata farm featured prominently on the opening day of New Zealand Bloodstock’s Book 1 Yearling Sale when selling lot 97, the Savabeel filly out of Makfi mare Chiaretta, to trainer Andrew Forsman, and bloodstock agents Andrew Williams and Bevan Smith.

Elsdon Park principals Lib and Katrina Petagna formed their new breeding operation last year after purchasing the former Valachi Downs property off Kevin and Jo Hickman, and they were pleased to get such a positive result from their debut draft at Karaka under the Elsdon Park banner.

“It is brilliant, I am very happy with that,” Lib Petagna said.

“We only brought our best stock. The good fillies are here and they make their money when you bring your best stock.”

Petagna is well-known in the racing fraternity, having raced a number of quality horses under his JML Bloodstock banner, and the Wellingtonian was intent on establishing his name as a genuine seller of quality fillies at Karaka.

“We made a big investment on the farm and have 35 foals on the ground. This is our first time selling under our own brand and we want to be seen as genuine vendors,” Petagna said.

“Usually people see me as a buyer of racing stock, so the market needs to know they can buy good stock from us and selling Ethereal Star (last year) really helped.”

Ethereral Star was purchased by Forsman, Williams and Smith for $600,000, and the Snitzel filly has already rewarded their judgment with victory in the Listed Challenge Stakes (1100m) and a runner-up result in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m).

Savabeel fillies are in limited supply and Petagna was confident that would help the filly’s cause.

“I came in thinking that there were only 11 or 12 Savabeel fillies, so a lot of people were retaining them,” he said.

“We brought two nice fillies, so as long as you have got a couple of people on them, they will make their money.

“We put a low reserve on her, she was on the market and was here to sell. You get rewarded when you have the right product. She has gone to a good trainer, so she will have every chance.”

Forsman was rapt to secure the filly, having been caught in a bidding duel with Te Akau’s David Ellis.

“She was a very neat type and very athletic. She looks to have that real Savabeel class about her and probably the sharpness of the mother as well. She was quite a good racehorse and hopefully that shows through in her progeny,” Forsman said.

“Lib and Bruce (Perry, racing manager) have been great supporters of me and my career.

“We bought a very nice filly (Ethereal Star) last year off them who we think a lot of and she has probably done enough to hold her value, and we are hoping we can do similar things with this filly.”

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