Countdown to $100,000 Karaka Stayers Cup
Countdown to $100,000 Karaka Stayers
The new $100,000 Karaka Stayers Cup (2200m) held at the Karaka Million Twilight Meeting on 26 January is fast approaching with potential starters having the opportunitythis Saturday at Ellerslie to get their rating points up to qualify for the race.
The Karaka Stayers Cup, to be sponsored by Westbury Stud, is open to all previous yearling graduates – sold or passed in – of the National Yearling Sales Series whether they have ever been entered in the Karaka Million or not.
Saturday’s $25,000 The Westbury Stud Karaka Stayer Cup 26/1 Open Handicap 2100m will be a key lead in race with five runners eligible for the Karaka Stayers Cup 15 days later in the field of 14 horses.
Proven stayer Pump Up the Volume (NZ) (Savabeel) is the first horse in Saturday’s race eligible for the Karaka Stayers Cup. The Ralph Manning trained runner was a winner over 3200m two starts ago demonstrating his staying strength and was a last start third over 2100m. The son of Savabeel has drawn ideally to get a soft run from barrier 2.
Another winner two starts ago, On the Level (NZ) (Align) was a leading three-year-old over the staying distances, placing in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby. The son of Align has a strong record at Ellerslie winning two of his three races on the course along with placings in the Group 1 NZ Derby and the Group 2 Avondale Guineas. The Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman trained six-year-old will have the services of the country’s leading rider in Matthew Cameron.
Trainers Peter & Dawn Williams have General Admiral (General Nediym) engaged in Saturday’s feature staying race at Ellerslie. The five-year-old gelding is in good form this campaign finishing first or second in three of his last four starts. The son of General Nediym is a winner at Ellerslie as well as being placed in the Dunstan Feeds Championship Final last season but has to overcome the outside barrier.
Last season’s Group 2 City of Auckland Cup winner Hiace (NZ) (Johar) will be looking to recapture his best form following two disappointing races. The Murray McKeagg trained galloper was fourth this season in the Group 3 Counties Cup and has the ability to be competitive in Saturday’s field. The seven-year-old gelding has drawn barrier 12 and will be ridden by Samantha Collet.
The last runner in the book is also the last runner eligible for the Karaka Stayers Cup.Deane Martin (NZ) (Keeper) was a last start winner at Te Rapa over 2100m for trainer Bruce Wallace. The son of Keeper is a winner of two races at Ellerslie including last season’s Listed Championship Stakes Prelude (2100m) as a three-year-old. The now four-year-old has drawn barrier 13 on Saturday.
The race has attracted a strong field of stayers including this season’s Listed Rotorua Plate winner Guns at Five (NZ) (Duelled), Who Shot Thebarman (NZ) (Yamanin Vital) who was a close second in the Group 3 Manawatu Cup last start and The Flying Affair(NZ) (Le Bec Fin), a winner on the course three starts back beating More Than Sacred.
Saturday’s card at Ellerslie will also feature the $15,000 NZB Insurance Pearl Series 2YO (1200m) with all 13 horses in the field looking to gain enough prizemoney to qualify for the Res. Listed $1m Karaka Million on 26 January.
The Karaka Million Order of Entry is getting tight with a number of two-year-olds still in contention to make the final field of 14 with seven races left to gain valuable prizemoney.
The three-year-old feature race on the Karaka Million Twilight Meeting is the Res. Listed $100,000 Karaka 3YO Mile with four possible candidates looking to boost their rating points in the $15,000 Ellerslie Jewellers & Engravers 3YO on Saturday in order to gain entry into the race.