Karaka Million heating up

Racing at Trentham on Saturday could see a new leader in the Karaka Million Order of Entry if one of the seven Karaka Million nominees can win the $45,000 listed Wellesley Stakes (1000m).

Eligible entrants for the race include Antonio Lombardo, Fort Lincoln, Dollario, Smoke 'N' Mirrors, Isaready and Fready Cougar who all feature on the Order of Entry. Fellow Karaka Million nominee Lady Chapel will be making her debut appearance in the race after her only trial win earlier this month.

The current Order of Entry for the 2011 Karaka Million has recently seen two new graduates shoot into the leaders pack, with a third rapidly climbing the list.

Last Saturday's Wanganui meeting saw the running of the 92.8 More FM (800m) with the Lisa Latta trained Brackenwood (Perfectly Ready x Woodminco) putting up a strong performance to beat the field of five.

Brackenwood ranged up alongside the leader Venetian Raider (Rusty Spur x Rare Bits) at the 400 metre mark and, in a good contest, were neck and neck for much of the straight.
Unbelieveabelle (Handsome Ransom x Shona Indre) loomed up on the outside and was looking promising, but at the 100 pole Brackenwood produced a good kick in the hands of Darryl Bradley, beating Venetian Raider by half-a-length.

Brackenwood's win has put him straight into fourth place on the Karaka Million Order of Entry with $6,563, ahead of Bespoke (Pins x Velvet And Satin) on $6,250.

Runner-up, the Jim Collett trained Venetian Raider, has gone straight into ninth position in the Order of Entry with $2,100 and third placed runner Smoke 'N' Mirrors (Fast 'N' Famous x Bayswater) moves to seventh place on $3,250 for trainer Francis Finnegan, completing the trifecta for Karaka graduates in the race.

Bought by Lisa Latta Racing Stables from the 2010 Karaka Select Yearling Sale for $26,000, Brackenwood has gone a long way to securing a place in the Karaka Million with Saturday's performance. By Brighthill Farm's first season sire Perfectly Ready (More Than Ready), Brackenwood is one of six Perfectly Ready runners in the current Karaka Million Order of Entry which includes the leader Isle be Ready (ex Jesmonds Gift) on A$21,800.

Another 2YO race on Saturday, the NZB Ready to Run Sale 2010 2YO (880m) at Ellerslie, sees six of the eight-horse field hunting Karaka Million prize money.

The only runner to have had a raceday outing is the Gonski filly Czechout Girl who placed fourth on debut last week and is currently sitting in 18th place in the Order of Entry for trainer Ben Foote.

Precise (Perfectly Ready x Golden Butterfly) is having her first start after beating Antonio Lombardo for first place in a trial in August, and Witz End (General Nediym x Gemstone) ran second to Czechout Girl in a trial earlier this month.

To cap off a busy weekend of 2YO racing is the NZB Ready to Run Sale November 16/17 2YO (800) on Sunday at Riccarton which sees another three Karaka Million nominees head to the track. Graduates include the Pins colt Bespoke (ex Velvet And Satin) who is in fifth place on the Order of Entry and who has won his only race day appearance, and The Aftershock (Nadeem x Queens Move) who ran a good third on debut last start. News Flash (Gallant Guru x Stage Flash) will be another graduate making his race debut after running second in an open catch weight 800 metre trial in late September.

The $200,000 Karaka 3YO Mile is also heating up with last Saturday's win by Twilight Savings (Secret Savings x Ghemashah) taking her to the lead in the Order of Entry which is based on domestic ratings. Her strong victory in the Listed $45,000 Lion Red Plate (1200m) has seen her rating increase to 85, one point ahead of last season's Champion Two-Year-Old Banchee (Oratorio x Miss Jessie Jay). Icepin Pins x Ice Maiden) remains in third place with a rating of 80.

Full details of the calendar of two-year-old races leading up to the Karaka Million Twilight Meeting can be found on the New Zealand Bloodstock website, together with the up-to-date Order of Entry for both races.