Noverre steps up to big stage

As well as winning all of the last five runnings of the Karaka Million 2YO, the powerful Te Akau stable of Jamie Richards has also become a major player in the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) on the star-studded twilight card here at Ellerslie on 22 January 2022.

The tangerine team won the race in 2020 with Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel), while Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel) was just edged out by Aegon (NZ) (Sacred Falls) in a thrilling photo finish in January of this year.

An eye-catching prospect for 2022 emerged over the weekend when Noverre (NZ) (Savabeel) stormed home to win the $90,000 Group Three War Decree Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton Park, moving up to equal third place on the order of entry for the Karaka Million 3YO Classic.

Noverre was an $800,000 purchase by David Ellis from Waikato Stud’s draft in Book 1 of Karaka 2020. He stepped up to stakes level on Saturday after recording a win and three placings from his first five appearances, and his performance was nothing short of spectacular.

Ridden by Jason Laking, Noverre weaved through traffic and charged home from near last, reeling in fellow Karaka graduate Field Of Gold (NZ) (Starspangledbanner) for a memorable win.

The Karaka Million 3YO Classic now looms large on the horizon for Noverre, who will first take a shot at Group One level in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on 6 November.

“He’s a very valuable colt and is now the favourite for the 2000 Guineas,” Ellis said. “It’s a special thrill for all the owners and all our team. We were thrilled with that. Jason (Laking, jockey) got the colt into a good rhythm, showed plenty of aggression, and he put in some sort of finish.

“It’s never easy to win these lead-up races, but you had to be impressed by the manner in which Noverre won. All going well, he could provide a good chance of becoming the seventh 2000 Guineas winner for Te Akau.”

The top two spots on the Karaka Million 3YO Classic order of entry are also Te Akau runners – last year’s Karaka Million 2YO winner On The Bubbles (Brazen Beau) and runner-up Sneaky Shark (Capitalist).

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