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Karaka Graduates NZ 2000 Guineas Bound

With the rich $1,000,000 Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) set to be contested at Riccarton in less than a fortnight, Labour Weekend saw Karaka graduates sweep all three key lead-ups on three different tracks over three different days.


Keyora (Bachelor Duke x Fairy Lights, by Fairy King) kicked off the success when travelling to Trentham Gardens to display his class in the Group 2 New Zealand Bloodstock Wellington Thoroughbred Breeders' Guineas (1500m) on Saturday.

The Oaks Stud's Bachelor Duke (Miswaki), winner of the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas

The last start Group 2 Hawke's Bay Guineas winner again asserted his control of the field early in the home straight, and again proved himself to be the most talented horse on the day.

The $200,000 purchase by John Wheeler at the Karaka Premier Sale is ticking all the boxes for his assault on Riccarton.

Keyora's sire Bachelor Duke won the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas while Keyora has shown he will relish the mile with strong wins over 1400 and 1500m.

His consecutive Group 2 victories have come on left-handed tracks, the direction he will run at Riccarton Park on 7 November.

On top of that, the depth of his international pedigree is never-ending with Group 1 winners Pilsudski, Youmzain, Creachadoir, Gaily, and Naaqoos all appearing in his first three dams.

His $128,500 in earnings for his owners, who include strong Karaka supporter Eddie Bourke, has come from just eight raceday starts with his purse set to explode with his $1,000,000 2000 Guineas nomination and $200,000 Karaka 3YO Mile eligibility at Ellerslie on 31 January.

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Bachelor Duke is represented by six progeny at the upcoming NZB Ready to Run Sale (17 November).

King's Ransom

Mark Walker has led his charge King's Ransom (King's Chapel x Joan, by Colonel Collins) down the very same path as his Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas winning sire King's Chapel, whom Walker also trained.

King's Chapel finished third in the Listed Canterbury Stakes (1600m) at Rangiora before claiming the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas.

Also based in the South Island, King's Ransom bettered his father by winning the Listed raced on Sunday in a performance that screamed leading NZ 2000 Guineas contender.

Settled back of mid-field and wide throughout, Opie Bosson pulled his charge widest of all coming into Rangiora's home straight.

His main opposition came from Comme Tu Veux (Howbaddouwanit x Justa Babe, by Flying Spur) who went for inside splits but King's Ransom found too much down to the line to score by a neck.

Purchased by David Ellis for $75,000 from Karaka as a yearling, King's Ransom won the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes on the big roomy left-handed Trentham track as a two-year-old which bodes well for his main mission at Riccarton over the Cup carnival.

Like Keyora, King's Ransom is eligible for the $200,000 Karaka 3YO Mile in January at the same meeting where he contested the $1,000,000 Karaka Million this past season.

King's Chapel is the sire of Lot 33, a bay colt out of My Queen at the NZB Ready to Run Sale.

Katie Lee

Katie Lee (Pins x Miss Jessie Jay, by Spectacularphantom) is another who competed in the $1,000,000 Karaka Million and now looks set to claim higher honours in her three-year-old season.

The dashing grey filly took on a high class field of colts, geldings and fillies yesterday at Te Rapa and came out on top.

Her Listed James and Annie Sarton Memorial win saw her run a devastating 1.22.15 for the 1400m with her closest opposition finishing two lengths in arrears.

A winner of the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes at two, Katie Lee has always been a strong finisher and the 1600m of the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas should prove no trouble, while her form against the boys yesterday leaves little doubt that she is right in the hunt for the $1,000,000 contest.

Owned by Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan who purchased the grey for $250,000 at Karaka, Katie Lee is trained by Graeme and Debbie Rogerson and was bred by Hallmark Stud.

She too is eligible for the Karaka 3YO Mile at Ellerslie on 31 January.

Second placed Finderskeepers (Keeper) was brave in defeat after leading for a majority of the contest at just his third start.

The Richard Collett trained Ready to Run graduate is sure to take improvement from his first run at stakes level and looks set to give the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas a real shake on Saturday week.

Eight two-year-olds by Pins are catalogued in the 2009 Karaka Ready to Run Sale (17 November) where Keeper will be represented by seven individuals.


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