Graeme Rogerson has always been a strong supporter of the $1m DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m), lining up 10 starters since its inception in 2008. An exciting start to the new two-year-old season suggests that the Hall of Fame trainer could be set to add to that number here at Ellerslie Racecourse on January 22.
Team Rogerson currently occupies three of the top six positions in the order of entry for the 2022 DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO, including the new table-topper Gwen Stephani (NZ) (El Roca).
Bought by Rogerson Bloodstock for $50,000 from Westbury Stud’s Book 2 draft at Karaka 2021, the chestnut filly scored a stylish victory in Saturday’s $15,000 Matamata Veterinary Services (1000m) and has now earned $8,700 from her two starts.
Team Rogerson’s other representatives in the order of entry are the fifth-placed Gibraltar Rising (NZ) (Almanzor), who caught everyone’s eye with an astonishing performance to finish third at Wanganui in September, along with Ready To Reign (NZ) (Telperion), who moved into sixth spot with a third placing behind Gwen Stephani at Matamata over the weekend.
Graeme Rogerson told NZ Racing Desk that Gwen Stephani’s emphatic victory on Saturday came as no surprise.
“She has just improved out of sight from Wanganui and I think that first run (finishing sixth) was a lot better than it looked,” he said. “Her work has been superb, and she galloped with one of my other good juveniles in Gibraltar Rising during the week and more than held her own.
“I guess her stablemate helped out (at Matamata) by taking off like she did, which wasn’t the instruction for her, but you had to like the way the winner found the line.
“She’s a very strong filly, and I’m going to have to sit down and work out what we do with her. I am thinking about taking a couple of the two-year-olds down to Riccarton for the stakes race there, so she is a candidate for that, along with Gibraltar Rising.”
The Listed Welcome Stakes (1000m) will be run at Riccarton Park on November 13, with its $60,000 stake guaranteeing a Karaka Million start for the winner.
Meanwhile, Wessex (NZ) (Turn Me Loose) now sits in second spot in the order of entry with $8,400, having won on debut at Matamata on September 25. Pacific Dragon (NZ) (Charm Spirit), who finished second behind Wessex, shares third place on the table alongside Saturday’s runner-up Order To Charge (NZ) (War Decree).
Stakes Increases for Karaka Million Twilight
With the $1m DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m), the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) and four other feature races on a stellar six-race card, the Karaka Million Twilight meeting here at Ellerslie was already an unmissable event on New Zealand’s summer racing calendar. But now an announcement by Auckland Thoroughbred Racing Incorporated this week has moved things to the next level.
All of the supporting races on the Karaka Million undercard have received a stake increase for 2022:
· Group Two Westbury Classic (1400m) – from $100,000 to $150,000
· Group Three Brighthill Farm Concorde Handicap (1200m) – from $80,000 to $110,000
· Group Three Cambridge Stud Almanzor Trophy (1200m) – from $80,000 to $110,000
· CollinsonForex Karaka Cup (2200m) – from $100,000 to $110,000.
“The minimum stake on Karaka Million night is now $110,000,” New Zealand Bloodstock’s managing director Andrew Seabrook tweeted on Monday. “Many thanks to Paul Wilcox and Auckland Thoroughbred Racing for making this happen.”
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