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Bluebloods : Karaka 2010 Yearling Sale Preview
70 encarrow studmaster Leon Casey has never forgotten the two lovely fillies by Chequers Stud's home-bred champion Vice Regal that he helped to prepare for the 1982 New Zealand National Yearling Sale. "I've still got a photo of them with Kieran McCauley, Mike Martin and myself -- we all prepped the first Vice Regal yearlings at Chequers Stud. The fillies from Mary Mead and Mary Poppins were the stars of the draft and they went into the ring one after the other." Making what turned out to be a fateful choice for both Pencarrow Stud and his future stud manager, Peter Vela bought the Mary Mead filly for $65,000, while Wellington property developer Arthur Williams paid $110,000 for the filly out of Mary Poppins. Leon remembers, "For a while it looked like the Mary Poppins filly, named Victoria Tan, was the better buy, because she won as a two-year-old and showed lots of ability." However, it was the Mary Mead filly, named Richebourg after the great Burgundy wine, who achieved both racetrack success, winning five races including the VATC Tranquil Star S. Gr. 3, and long- term fame as the dam of two wonderful racing fillies and producers, Romanee Conti and Grand Echezeaux. And so the circle turns. Twenty-eight years later Pencarrow Stud's draft for Karaka 2010 includes first- crop yearlings by their own outstanding home-bred racehorse Darci Brahma, a grandson of Richebourg. Peter and Philip Vela have retained a significant share in the champion two-year-old, three-year-old and sprinter, and have carefully selected the mares they have sent to him at The Oaks Stud. Leon explains, "Darci Brahma ticks a lot of boxes: he has a fantastic temperament, great constitution and natural speed, so we've looked to our European mares to provide a good physical match for him. "He also carries the bloodlines of three dominant stallions, Danehill, Zabeel and Vice Regal and I see all three of them in his yearlings." Leon has every reason to be confident about the strategy of mating northern hemisphere mares with a New Zealand-bred stallion proven in Australasian racing conditions. Pencarrow Stud also bred and sold Singapore Group One winner Big Maverick, by Waikato Stud's home-bred champion racehorse and sire O'Reilly from Ajfan (Woodman-Misinskie by Nijinsky), who was twice Group One-placed in England. Leon says, "Big Maverick was a no-faults, no-fuss kind of horse, a really nice individual with great bone, and he's been placed so well in Singapore by Laurie Laxon." Laxon purchased Big Maverick at the 2006 New Zealand Premier Sale for $135,000. Ajfan has a yearling filly by Lucky Unicorn, retained for racing by the Stud, and is now in foal to Darci Brahma. Pencarrow Stud has also been represented this season by $600,000 Karaka Premier graduate Encosta Diablo (Encosta de Lago-Devil's Lair by Sir Tristram), impressive winner of the CJC Welcome S. LR at only his second start. That performance placed him at the top of the Order of Entry for the 2010 Karaka Million, to be run on 31 January, the eve of the New Zealand Premier Sale. The spring has also produced a pair of progressive Vela-bred metropolitan winners in Australia, Tintern scoring for Lloyd Williams at Flemington and Sandown, and Left Standing winning in Brisbane. Tintern (Pins-Annie Daly) was sold for $140,000 to Rogerson Bloodstock at Karaka Premier in 2006, and Left Standing (Stravinsky-Anatomy) was a $115,000 purchase by Heinrich Bloodstock at the same sale in 2007. Other recent performers carrying Pencarrow's "V" brand and sold at Karaka include Let Loushe P PENCARROW STUD (stakes-placed at Flemington) and Rock of Solitude in Australia, Noble Manor in Singapore, and Martial Art and Fears Nothing in New Zealand. They join a long list of successful Karaka graudates bred and sold by Pencarrow Stud, headed by Group One winners Hoeberg, Allez Suez, Linesman, Cavallieri, Star Dancer, De Beers and, of course, Darci Brahma. Meanwhile, three-year-old filly Our Ella Belle (Encosta de Lago-Kirin Belle), who races in the Velas' own blue-and-white colours, flashed home for third in the CJC New Zealand 1000 Guineas Gr. 1. Her half-brother by Darci Brahma is part of the Stud's draft for Karaka 2010, KARAKA 2010 STANDOUTS: Redoute's Choice- Grand Echezeaux colt -- "Very similar to Darci Brahma, a quality, correct colt with a lovely nature." He's a three-quarter brother to Darci Brahma, by Danehill's champion sire son from a Group One- winning daughter of Zabeel. Darci Brahma-Loudenne colt -- "He's the most like his sire of our Darci Brahma yearlings, a very strong, mature horse, with a great constitution." Loudenne is already the dam of 2008 New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Insouciant and Gr. 3 Copper Mountain. UNDER THE RADAR PICK: Pins-Velvet and Satin colt -- "A really outstanding individual, from a filly who was placed in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas -- he's well worth a closer look." Velvet and Satin is a a daughter of Hong Kong Cup winner Romanee Conti and a half-sister to champion stayer Ethereal. AT THE END OF SALE DAY: Leon says, "I just enjoy bumping into people from everywhere, clients and their families, and especially catching up on news about horses we've previously sold at Karaka."
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