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Vendors positive in South Island Sale countdown

New Zealand Bloodstock’s decision to stage this year’s South Island Sale on Gavelhouse Plus has been met with a diverse range of entries from throughout the country, and vendors in both islands of New Zealand are upbeat in the countdown to this month’s online sale of more than 60 yearlings.

Graduates of the South Island Sale in the last decade include Group One winners Shadows Cast and Signify, while trans-Tasman staying stars such as Etah James and The Chosen One have demonstrated the southern product on the biggest stage.

A more recent advertisement for the South Island Sale is Markus Aurelius, who was bought by Te Akau Racing's David Ellis for just $13,000 from the 2018 draft of White Robe Lodge. The Ghibellines gelding has won six of his 11 starts, including his last four in a row, and is being set for the Gr.2 Manco Easter Handicap (1600m) at Ellerslie on April 24.

Inglewood Stud are set to fly the southern flag in this year's edition of the sale, offering four well-related yearlings including Lot 58 – a Savile Row half-sister to their Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) winner Matchmaker.

"I think most vendors would have preferred it to be held as a physical sale – getting horses in front of buyers is always the easiest way to sell them," Inglewood Stud co-owner Gus Wigley said.

"But in the current climate it's completely understandable that they've gone down the online route, and over the last 12 months the bloodstock world has demonstrated that it's possible to hold sales online and do so very successfully.

"We're selling four nice yearlings in this sale this year, and we've had good interest in every single one of them. They were well received in our parade last week, and I've had phone calls about each of them since then, which has been very encouraging.

"We're selling a really nice half-sister to Matchmaker, who's running in the PJ Bell Stakes (Gr.3, 6 f) at Randwick tomorrow. I know she's made a really good impression on the Chris Waller team, so hopefully we might have a great pedigree update before the sale.

"There's also a lovely Astern filly (Lot who unfortunately had to be withdrawn from Book 1 of Karaka earlier this year, but this is another chance to put her on the market. We've got our fingers crossed and we're looking forward to seeing how they all go."

Northerners Curraghmore have put forward a draft of seven, including Lot 27 – a gelding by in-demand first season sire Almanzor out of the stakes-winning Tavistock mare Avisto, who is the dam of the impressive last-start Listed Bendigo Guineas (1400m) winner Annavisto.

Lot 25 is by Tivaci out of the Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and Gr.3 Eulogy Stakes (1600m) winner Alagant Satin, who is the dam of three winners including Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) placegetter Taroni.

"I like the concept of an online sale," Gordon Cunningham said. "It worked really well for the weanling sale last year, which proved that it can be a success. It allows vendors to reach a broad range of buyers who can take part without having to be there in person.

"The concept of yearling sales later in the season is also something we've often embraced in the past. When the Carnival Sale was held in March a few years ago, the yearlings we took there included the Group One winner Fully Fledged.

"More recently, when New Zealand Bloodstock introduced Karaka Million eligibility for yearlings sold in the May Sale, we went there with Aimee's Jewel, who's won three races in a short space of time including this season's Gr.3 Canterbury Breeders' Stakes (1400m).

"The key thing for buyers to know is that we've given our draft for this sale all the same opportunities as those horses who have gone before.

"We had a nice attendance for our parade, and we're available to do pre-sale inspections for anyone who's interested.

"We're excited to be selling the half-brother to Annavisto, who races again at Caulfield on Saturday. He's a very nice yearling by Almanzor. The Tivaci out of Alagant Satin is another lovely type, and he's a half-brother to Taroni.

"Our Proisir filly (Lot is a full-sister to Slipintothis, who has shown a lot of promise in Victoria – never further back than fourth in her seven-start career to date.

"All in all, it's a good, genuine draft that we're very happy with."

Rich Hill Stud will offer five yearlings including Lot by their shuttle stallion Vadamos out of a full-sister to 10-time Group One winner Mufhasa.

Managing director John Thompson's interest in the South Island Sale is twofold, also being president of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.

"From my perspective, this sale has really shown its worth as an extra opportunity for vendors to sell yearlings who might have been a bit behind the eight-ball in terms of Karaka earlier this year," he said.

"Most of the fillies in our draft, for instance, were November foals. That extra time has done them the world of good, and they've really caught up over the last few weeks.

"Holding the sale online also opens up all sorts of different markets all over the place, so we're hoping it will be a big success.

"The attendees at our parade the other day all seemed to be serious and interested buyers, which was good to see, and our horses were well received. We're pleased to be offering a couple by Proisir and a couple by Vadamos, who have both been sought-after stallions this year, along with one from the first crop of Satono Aladdin.

"The Vadamos fillies both have a bit of pedigree behind them. One is out of a sister to Mufhasa and is a really nice, athletic filly, and the other one (Lot 7) comes from the Solveig family. She was entered for Karaka, but a couple of days out from the sale she cut her leg and had to be withdrawn. She's a fantastic type as well."

Bidding on the South Island Sale will commence from Monday, with the first lot closing at 7pm on Wednesday. All yearlings offered through the sale are eligible to be nominated for the Karaka Million series.

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