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The Oaks Stud are back at the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales after taking a different approach during the COVID pandemic. With horses like Gr1 winners Catalyst, Avantage, and Miss Sentimental coming off the farm, their 2023 draft of yearlings is eagerly awaited.
This article is from the November/December edition of Bluebloods, Subscribe to BLUEBLOODS
“During COVID, with international buyers restricted from entering New Zealand, we decided to take a different approach to selling horses and took on the whole risk of taking them all the way to the trials for private sale,” said The Oaks Stud manager Rick Williams. “Those 2021 yearlings are now spring three year-olds, so we are about to find out if our judgement call will pay off. In 2022, we only took three yearlings to Karaka, and two of them sold, both to local buyers. This year, the Australian buyers and the rest of the world should be back in force. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again, and we’ve put together a nice draft of ten yearlings that should have global appeal.”
In 2023, The Oaks Stud will present a draft of nine yearlings at the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale. “It’s a very nice draft. I’m happy with them all at this stage and hope to find good homes for them all.”
So You Think filly, Lot 49, is out of Gr1 New Zealand Oaks placegetter and winner of two races, Aurora Lights who is a full sister to Gr1 Queensland Derby placed winner Westsouthwest. “A nice filly by a tremendous sire. I wouldn’t normally sell a filly as nice as her, and she’s only here to help us get back on our feet after the pandemic.”
Miss Sentimental (Reliable Man) was sold by The Oaks Stud and went on to win the New Zealand Oaks-Gr1, and now they will offer her three-quarter brother, Lot 457. This Reliable Man colt is the second foal for Miss Sentimental’s winning half-sister Recollect. From a strong Australian family that includes Gr1 winners Dracula, Complacent, Inspiration, and Wandjina etc. “A nice compact colt with good depth and a good walk”.
The first foal of winning mare Away Cruising is Lot 51, an American Pharoah colt, and his second dam is The Oaks Stud’s champion racemare Seachange, dam of Gr3 placed winner Divan. “A lovely moving colt.” Another of Seachange’s winning daughters is Sea Goddess, and her second foal is a filly, Lot 496, by Almanzor who sired Gr1 Victoria Derby winner Manzoice in his first crop. “He is an absolute cracker of a colt.”
First season sire Magna Grecia has brilliant credentials being a Gr1 winning two year-old and Classic winning three year-old, and The Oaks Stud will offer his yearling filly, Lot 533, who is out of Pivotal mare So Lyrical, who has left two winners as this early stage. This is the family of Gr1 winners Bachelor Duke, Sonnyboyliston, and Talco. “A lovely filly that I have a lot of time for.”
Four yearlings are by The Oaks Stud resident successful sire Darci Brahma, led by Lot 572, a half-brother to The Oaks Stud sold Gr1 winner Sakhee’s Soldier. This colt is out of a winning Machiavellian mare whose five foals to race are all winners. “Of all the Darci Brahma’s we’ve bred recently, this colt is the closest in looks to DB Pin, who was a Gr1 winner in Hong Kong, and two of this colt’s full brothers have done well in Hong Kong too.”
Lot 259 is a full brother to Australian group winner Paint the Town (Darci Brahma), and his winning Medicean dam, Italic, has left six winners in total, who have won a collective 24 races between them. “Very powerful hind quarters and a sharp early type”.
Out of Listed winner Flying Firebird, Lot 191 is a half-brother to Gr2 winner and Gr1 placed Smoulder (dam of group placed winner Embers (Darci Brahma)), and group placed winner Flaming. “A typical Darci Brahma and his half-sister ran third in the Gr1 New Zealand Thousand Guineas.”
The only Darci Brahma filly in the draft is Lot 303, and she is the third foal of winning mare Leica Lady, whose first foal is a three year-old who has been placed twice from five starts in Australia this season. This filly’s dam is a half-sister to the group placed winning dam of Australian stakes winners Stampede (Gr3 winner and fourth in the Gr1 Metropolitan Handicap), Thinkin’ Big (Gr3 winner and third in the Gr1 Spring Champion Stakes), and Just Thinkin’ (Listed winner and fourth in the Gr1 Spring Champion Stakes). “A good physical type.”
With The Oaks focusing on selling their last couple of crops privately due to COVID restrictions affecting New Zealand over the past three years, there has also been more focus on their racing team. “We have several good ones ready to step out soon. We are about six weeks behind where we wanted to be with our three year-olds as we’ve been waiting for the heavy tracks to ease. Of the three year-olds, we have a nice one with High Currency who looks like an autumn filly, and she is a full sister to Gr3 winner Consommateur. Keenasabean ran third on debut recently and looks like a Derby horse, along with an un-named Almanzor filly who is a half-sister to multiple Gr1 winner Bostonian”.