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Bluebloods : Karaka 2010 Yearling Sale Preview
52 EFFICIENT winning Turnbull Stakes Gr.1 usy though it is, spring is definitely Gordon Cunningham's favourite season. And why wouldn't it be, when the impressive list of major races won by Curraghmore Stud graduates is dominated by Melbourne and Sydney spring features? The Curraghmore-sold stars of the 2008 spring included Sousa (AJC Spring Champion S. Gr. 1), Guillotine (MVRC Dato Tan Chin Nam S. Gr. 2) and Pre-Eminence (MRC Norman Robins S. Gr. 3). The pattern continued in 2009, beginning in August when Nathan Tinkler's colt Trusting became the first three-year-old since champion Lonhro to win the AJC Warwick S. Gr. 2, and ran second to Denman in the STC Golden Rose Gr. 1. Hanks, a son of Encosta de Lago sold for $150,000 at the 2005 NZ Premier Sale, began his spring with a win at Caulfield, then collected the MVRC AAMI Vase Gr. 2 on Cox Plate day. Outstanding stayer Efficient took out his third big race at Flemington when he won the VRC Turnbull S. Gr. 1 on 3 October, and only injury prevented him lining up for what Gordon believes could well have been a second Melbourne Cup victory. "There's a good reason that he was the first horse since Phar Lap to win the Victoria Derby and the Melbourne Cup -- it takes an exceptional horse to do it." Little wonder then when asked for his racing highlight of the year Gordon replies, "All of the above! It certainly puts a spring in your step when you're feeding up on a Saturday afternoon, to see performances like these and think that two years ago, these were horses we raised here." All three horses were sold by Curraghmore Stud at the NZ Premier Sale. Gordon remembers both Trusting and Hanks as colts with plenty of potential for development and is excited about what they'll do in their next campaigns. "Peter Moody's decision to spell Hanks before the VRC Derby has to be commended, he's considered the horse and his future, ahead of the prize that was only a week away." The Curraghmore roll call of spring winners doesn't end there. Velocitea, whose dam Cat Shmea boards at Curraghmore for her Christchurch owners Raywyn Ramage and Shelley Frost, won the MRC How Now S. Gr. 3 in September. A quartet of horses purchased from Curraghmore's Karaka 2007 draft have rewarded their owners with eight wins this spring. Lakonian and Knife Edge have been re-sold to Hong Kong and Macau, while Bridgestone and Port Vell have won in Perth and Melbourne. Lakonian's second placing over 1600 metres at Flemington in May 2009 has been firmly franked by the subsequent form of the horse who beat him: Melbourne Cup Gr. 1 winner Shocking. Chris Waller's progressive four-year-old stayer The Embassy won four races and more than $A100,000 in Sydney during August and September. In New Zealand Coup Callum, sold by Curraghmore at Karaka 2005, added a fifth win to his record for owners Ray Coupland and Jill Walls. The Curraghmore philosophy is simple and stated up front on the stud's website: "to afford the horses B CURRAGHMORE STUD we breed and raise the best opportunity to become successful racehorses." Gordon adds, "We aim to rear and handle our horses so that when they go to the breakers, they're well-liked. That gives them a great start and after that we hope they get the opportunity to show their best. You need a lot of luck in this game and we've been fortunate that many of our horses have been given the best opportunity." Of the 2010 Curraghmore draft for Karaka he says,"We've got a larger group of higher quality fillies than we've had for a long time. We usually have two or three lovely fillies, but this year we have a dozen." Irish-born Gordon came to New Zealand in 1984, working initially as the manager of Waikato Stud. Curraghmore Stud was established on 160 acres near Hamilton in 1994, and ten years later became only the fourth consignor, after Cambridge Stud, Esker Lodge and Pencarrow Stud to sell a seven- figure yearling in New Zealand. Over the past two years Gordon has developed a second property on 110 acres near Te Awamutu as a farm for young horses. UNDER THE RADAR PICK: The Rock of Gibraltar-Golden Bridge filly, she's a half-sister to Group One winner Arlingtonboulevard and physically she's right up with the best Rock of Gibraltar horses I've seen race." AT THE END OF SALE DAY: " 'Its always good to catch up with friends and but you don't really relax until you get home. Then you start all over again!"
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