Sales kick off at Karaka

11:05 AM 17 Feb 2014 NZDT
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Another standardbred
The sale ring at Karaka

Right on cue, an Kiwi-bred Inter Dominion heat trifecta.

That is what unfolded at Gloucester Park in Perth on Saturday night and it was like a free, last-minute advertisement for harness racing’s yearling sales week which starts at Karaka today.

The first three home in the Perth Interdom heat were former Kiwis, reiterating to West Australian buyers just how dominant New Zealand-bred horses are in their state.

And that could be crucial to the success of today’s sale with a larger than usual group of buyers from WA expected.

Stakes in that state are the second highest in Australia, behind only the behemoth that has become Menangle, and hopefully Saturday night’s success and recent Kiwi triumphs in the Hunter Cup and Victoria Derby will help offset concerns about the strong New Zealand dollar.

The Karaka sale tends to appeal more to Australian buyers than the two-day slog which follows in Canterbury and with only 130 horses under the hammer today demand should be steady.

The indications are the small scrum of big buyers who have propped up the top end of the sales in recent years will be present again, with many of our biggest spenders having tasted group one success in the last 12 months so motivated to go again.

And last week’s huge stakes increase announcement by the Aucklan Trotting Club could aid in the often soft middle range of the sale.

Today will be dominated by super sire Bettors Delight with Mach Three, Art Major and American Ideal all set to provide serious support, but there is oddly only five lots by sales hero Christian Cullen.

Trotting buyers have a real treat though with lots by Love You, Muscles Yankee and a range of outstanding squaregaiting stallions making up the strongest ever selection of baby trotters sold at Karaka.

The sale starts at 11am.

By Michael Guerin (Harness Racing New Zealand)

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