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After reading how most of our top or promising horses have one or 2 starts in Spring in NZ, then are off to Aus to race

Racing: Stock kept 'for some fun'

20 Aug, 2019 5:00am
 5 minutes to read
Catalyst won brilliantly on debut at New Plymouth for The Oaks Stud. Photo / Race Images Palmerston North
Catalyst won brilliantly on debut at New Plymouth for The Oaks Stud. Photo / Race Images Palmerston North

There has been a change of direction by The Oaks Stud owner Dick Karreman with some of the younger horses and the likelihood of some further major decisions to be made in a year or so.

Since purchasing The Oaks Stud in 2002, the successful Queenslander has watched a steady stream of winners emerge from the Cambridge property, either bred and raced or sold by the stud, or progeny of one of its resident stallions.

He has enjoyed many highlights with home-bred fillies, headed by the seven-time Group 1 winner and dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Seachange, while Recite was a dual Group 1 winner, Artistic won the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) when beating his other filly Zurella, Risque won the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), Seachange's half-sister Keepa Cruisin won the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) and Devise took out the Group 1 Haunui Farm WFA Stakes (1600m).

The practice at The Oaks Stud, like other studs, has been to put the colts on the market, but this year there have been a few notable exceptions with Karreman turning down sizeable offers for a trio of 3-year-old geldings by Darci Brahma, who heads The Oaks sire line-up.


Following impressive trials performances, Catalyst, Double Impact and Darci's Tune were the subject of a total seven-figure offer.

"Dick said he just wants to have some fun racing good horses," Rick Williams, The Oaks Stud's general manager said.

"He's made his mind up and I'm excited with the young team we've got to race, plus some good older ones like Obsessive. These three geldings we kept are showing what the best horses we've had in the past have shown me.

"I know they are all up to competing in stakes races then we'll find out how good they are."

Trained at Te Awamutu by Clayton Chipperfield, Catalyst was unbeaten in three trials before being a five and a half-length winner in his second start, at New Plymouth in May. After a spell he stylishly won over 1040m at the Te Teko trials a fortnight ago and is being set for the Listed El Roca — Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) at Hastings on August 31.

Double Impact is unbeaten in two trials for trainer Brendon Hawtin and will debut at Taupo on Wednesday in the LA — The Oldest Family Owned Stud 3YO Maiden 1100m.



"He's drawn badly [16] but he's very smart," Williams said.

The Oaks Stud's interest in the Taupo meeting will also be focused on Kali, a Darci Brahma filly trained by Tony Pike who created a huge impression with a comprehensive debut win at Hastings in April after two trials wins.


"We bought the majority interest in her," Williams said. "She had a run at the Te Teko trials and is an exciting filly."

Darci's Tune, the other member of the retained trio of geldings, was runner-up at the Te Teko trials in June and has been sent to Ballarat trainer Patrick Payne.

"We wanted to split them up a bit so he'll get his chance in Melbourne," Williams said.

"We could be sending others to Patrick Payne, too. Dummy [Kevin Myers] may decide to send Ave Maria [a hurdles winner for the Oaks Stud at Wanganui on Sunday] over to him.

"We've done well with the horses we have in Australia. We sent Paint The Town and Suretoshine over to Bevan Laming and between them they have won over A$150,000 ($158,000) in the last two months.

"We've got five horses in Australia and we'll be looking to send more.

"Dick has stuck loyal to New Zealand racing, but there needs to be some major changes in the next 12 months. New Zealand racing can't carry on like it is.

"RITA needs to make the right decisions and adopt the Messara report. We can't afford to leave it like it is any longer."

As well as sending broodmares to Australia, The Oaks Stud has obviously continued to patronise its own sires, Darci Brahma, Roc de Cambes and Niagara. Seachange is in foal to Darci Brahma and due in early October, but no decision has been made yet on her next mating.

Over recent years the stud has trimmed its broodmare band to about 50 mares and at the National Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast in May the stud purchased the well-bred Hill Of Grange for A$280,000.

Hill Of Grange is a half-sister to Heatherly, a Group 2 winner and twice Group 1 placed.

"She's gone to Lonhro. He's the obvious sire for her with what he's done for the family," Williams said.

The Oaks Stud has also sub-divided some of its land into the Pukekura housing project.

"It's been massive," Williams said. "Stage one of 33 sections has been completed and been popular, we're working stage two of 47 sections and the third stage of 31 sections will be started in October.

"It hasn't affected the running of the stud as it only takes up about 10 per cent of the 550 acres."

- NZ Racing Desk

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This approach will become even more common until and unless RITA gets its act together.

NZ racing will be downsized - fewer midweek racedays, no jumps in South Island, GN meeting moved to North Island, our best resources (people, not just bloodstock) will emigrate to Australia Asia and Europe for meaningful careers in an industry that rewards hard work and talent with $$ and status. The size of the NZ market is just too small and we have neglected the younger generation for generations, to the extent that the vast majority of young people are indifferent to horse racing. We have allowed our racing infrastructure to be neglected and failed to rationalise it in the latter part of the 20th century. Avondale racecourse a perfect example. And we STILL don't make accountable the people in high places who are ruining this great sport/business/pastime through poor governance and wasteful expenditure.

Rant over.


Edited by Maximus
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