Ellis digs deep to secure prized Cambridge Stud pair

29 Jan 2018

Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis has had to endure a few sleepless nights since a visit to Cambridge Stud last month.

Ellis, the leading buyer at the NZB National Yearling sale for an unprecedented 12 consecutive years, had spent the day inspecting Sir Patrick Hogan’s Karaka draft and identified what he considered to be a special individual.

“It was 10 years since I had seen a filly of her quality,” he said.

“At that stage I didn’t have a buying order for a really top filly and I wasn’t prepared to spec a filly of that sort of value. I went home and each night I would wake up at 3am thinking about how I could get a filly like that in the stable for the boys to train.”

Ellis was referring to Lot 290, the Savabeel filly out of Redoute’s Choice mare, Joy’s Choice. The high-class youngster comes from a mouth-watering family of multiple stakes winners including prolific mare La Sizeranne and Gr. 1 ATC Derby (2400m) winner, Tavago.

Ellis’ solution to the problem was to implement his first fillies syndicate after concentrating for a number of years on colts only options.

“I thought I would put a fillies syndicate together, similar to the colts,” he said.

“That is the first filly I have bought for this syndicate.

“Fillies like her have huge residual value regardless of their racetrack performance, with individuals from this family very hard to find.

“I’ve grown up loving this family and to think we now have one to train is a huge thrill.”

Lot 290 - Trish Dunell

Lot 290, Pic: Trish Dunell

Ellis faced red-hot competition for the youngster although he admitted he still had ammunition left if he hadn’t secured her with his $900,000 offering.

“One of my staff sent me a text saying there were four people bidding,” he said.

“I think the competition on the good horses has been very very strong. Often you don’t get the feel of how strong it is until you try and buy one.”

Ellis faced similar competition just 30 minutes later when he set the sale’s top price so far when he outlaid $1.025 million for Lot 301, another Savabeel colt from outstanding racemare Katie Lee.

Ellis fought off the attentions of both Debbie Rogerson and Peter Moody to secure the colt, who will form an integral part of his 2018 colts syndicate.

Ellis pointed out that he hadn’t felt nearly as much pressure to secure the flashy bay as he had just half an hour earlier.

“I’ve had so much success in the last 10 years, with buying these colts, that the syndicate filled within 48 hours,” he said.

“We sent out emails to our owners telling them what we were going to do and within 24 hours we had filled 90 per cent, with the remaining shares taken the next day.

“The syndicate is filled with genuine racing people who love racing and the challenge of trying to get a stallion.”

Ellis was adamant that Karaka was the only place to be to buy this type of quality colt, although he went to the end of his rope to secure the individual.

“I see him as a colt that could win a Sires’ Produce and a great option for the 2000 Guineas later,” he said.

“That was my last bid to win him. I knew when I got on the wrong leg the other guy would go to $1 million and the next bid was my last.

“We will get the rest of the colts for the syndicate during this sale. With the record of the New Zealand horse why would you want to go anywhere else?”

The result was further testimony to the strength and quality of Sir Patrick Hogan’s final Cambridge Stud draft. Despite the good news there was one small negative for the studmaster who will miss out on a share in the syndicate that will race the Katie Lee colt.

Ellis noted that Hogan had asked if he could buy into the syndicate, but he had to advise him it was already fully subscribed. - NZ Racing Desk