Te Akau principal David Ellis has bought plenty of quality fillies at Karaka over the years, so it was a bold statement when he labelled lot 410, the Fastnet Rock full-sister to Group One winner Unforgotten, as the best filly he has seen at New Zealand Bloodstock’s sales venue in a decade.
“I have been coming and buying yearlings here since 1988 and definitely in the last five to 10 years I haven’t seen a filly of more quality or athleticism, and we were determined to buy her at any cost,” Ellis said.
Ellis secured the filly out of the Galileo mare Memories Of You with a final bid of $850,000, seeing off bids from both on-site at Karaka and online.
The leading buyer has had a great association with champion stallion Fastnet Rock, having bought and raced his Group One winners Rock N Pop, Heroic Valour, Age of Fire and Avantage, plus European Group One performer Torcedor.
Ellis was also thrilled to again link with respected vendor Gordon Cunningham of Curraghmore, who presented the Coolmore-bred youngster in impeccable order.
“This is a stallion that leaves serious horses and this is one of the nicest fillies I have seen at Karaka in a long time,” Ellis said.
“No one does a better job than Gordon Cunningham. He is a big supporter of Te Akau Racing and he is just a champion guy. His son Liam is a senior part of our stable and works in the colt barn looking after horses like Dynastic.
“We have had a great association with Coolmore. They bought Avantage for $4.1 million last year once she was retired from racing with nine Group One wins. They are very good friends of mine and great supporters of Te Akau Racing.”
The filly is also on the magic cross of Fastnet Rock out of a Galileo mare, which has produced nine of the stallion’s 42 individual Group One winners, and he boasts a staggering strike-rate of 20 percent stakes winners to runners on the cross.
The filly will join the ‘Four Fillies Syndicate’ Ellis is compiling and he said he is looking for a few more on day three of the Book One session to complete the syndicate offering.
“When we came to the sale, we decided to put the best four fillies and the best four colts into a colts and fillies syndicate,” Ellis said.
“We have got more to buy tomorrow but we are certainly buying what we want. It is very exciting to be able to take these quality yearlings home to Te Akau for my owners.”
Ellis said members of the syndicate are set to have plenty of fun, particularly with the Fastnet Rock filly who is a full sister to an Australian Oaks winner.
“I think this filly is a Sires’ Produce filly, she will come a bit earlier,” he said. “But she is a real 1000 Guineas-Oaks filly, just an absolute crackerjack.”
With many of the underbidders bidding through New Zealand Bloodstock’s online portal, Ellis said he wasn’t fazed by not knowing who he was competing against.
“I have just got the best team around me, and we just trust ourselves and don’t really pay much attention to who the underbidders are as long as we get the horses we want,” he said.
“At this stage we are getting the ones we want.”
Gordon Cunningham, who sold Unforgotten as a yearling through the Karaka ring for $360,000 to Chris Waller Racing back in 2016, was delighted to see the filly go to leading stable Te Akau Racing.
“The filly is equally as nice as Unforgotten. She has lots of similarities but a little bit more mature at the same stage,” he said.
“She was very popular from when inspections began in January and always presented like a top filly, much like her sister.
“I hope she will go on to be as successful and congratulations to Te Akau for securing a filly of the future.” – NZ Racing Desk