Stravinsky Colt Tops First Session of New Zealand Yearling Sale

The Coolmore-owned Stravinsky line stole honors on day one of New Zealand’s benchmark National Yearling Sale at Karaka on Monday when a wonderful looking son of his sold for NZ$1.3million (U.S$906,000).

But while that wasn’t unexpected, as he was an Adonis with a great pedigree on both sides of the family tree, the strange thing was that Demi O’Byrne, the Irishman who buys for Coolmore, didn’t land him. Instead he placed all his Coolmore spending money in a number of Montjeu colts, which puzzled many because Montjeu has not been a standout in the southern hemisphere. O'Byrne spent NZ$865,000 buying five Montjeu colts – nothing else.

Presumably they will stay in the Southern Hemisphere and race. They came from the last crop by Montjeu conceived in the south.

Still, the top price was the price of interest and it was paid by David Ellis who runs Te Akau Stable. Ellis should have money to burn and expect him to spend it on day two also as last weekend he managed to sell shares into his stallion prospect, the now four-time group I winner Darci Brahma, whom he purchased at these very sales just two years ago for the same price as the Stravinsky yearling.

Last weekend, Ellis and the Te Akau people woke up with an extra NZ$3million to play with as Darci Brahma (Danehill - Grand Echezeaux, by Zabeel) had three shares in his stud future sold off at NZ$1million apiece. Only 10 shares will be sold and people are lining up to buy into him.

Said Ellis: “Several studs have inquired about buying into the horse, I've told them all that is impossible because when we put the syndicate for Darci together, it included a pre-emptive clause which means any shareholder who wants to sell their share has to offer it to the other syndicate members. The exciting thing is that this offer differs greatly from some of the hyped offers we've had around stallions in the past. Those offers have been what owners will sell for; this offer is what someone is offering to buy for. It's genuine! It's wonderful that we are seeing such an improvement in our racing scene that this type of horse can stay to stand in New Zealand. Previously a horse of his class would have had to be sold overseas."

Ellis will know doubt trust that lightning has struck again by buying the Stravinsky colt, which Mark Walker will train in New Zealand.

“Pedigree is a stallion’s pedigree, and he looks like a racehorse. He was the one we wanted,” Ellis said.

Pencarrow Stud, renowned for selling off its quality colts and keeping the fillies, offered this bay colt whose dam is the great, great champion race mare Ethereal, winner of a Melbourne and Caulfield Cup (both group I), and Aust$4,780,000 in stakes. Not coincidentally, this colt’s grand dam, Romanee Conti, is a half-sister to Grand Echezeaux, the dam of Darci Brahma.

Next highest priced was a Zabeel -- Grace and Power by Brief Truce filly, which fetched NZ$800,000 to the anonymous bid made by NZ Bloodstock as agent. She, too, was offered by Pencarrow, which flies in the face of the "et’s keep the best fillies’ theory."

“We can’t hang on to every one of the top fillies,” said a Pencarrow spokesman. who was happy with the result. Grace and Power, an English-bred mare closely related to the former racetrack champion Might and Power (who was by Zabeel), has already produced two stakes horses to date.