A breathless Mark Chittick was struggling to find the right words to describe his thoughts just moments after a youngster from resident sire Savabeel smashed the auction ring record for a Waikato Stud yearling.
Lot 192, the Savabeel colt out of Pins mare Make A Wish, held the Karaka audience spellbound as a brief but fierce bidding war erupted soon after the flashy brown juvenile made his way into the auditorium.
An opening bid of $800,000 drew an audible gasp before the big guns rolled up their sleeves and went to war. When the dust settled in was Te Akau supremo David Ellis who outlasted international Bloodstock agent Rob McAnulty to secure the colt for $1.4 million.
That result smashed the 2018 record achieved by Waikato Stud when their Savabeel ex Posy filly sold for $875,000.
A visibly affected Chittick was trying hard to keep a lid on his emotions when questioned about the sale.
“Phew, where do we start,” Chittick said.
“He is probably one of the most outstanding horses we have ever brought to the sales.
“The comments we were getting said he was the nicest horse that people had seen at the sale.
“We didn’t have a reserve (price) as I knew he would sell well. He has exceeded expectations.
“There was massive competition from all the big players.
“Te Akau do a wonderful job, bought a beautiful horse and bought a horse off us last year that they won the Karaka Million with.
“They are flying with the Savabeels, like anybody is, who have got them.
“It is just a huge thrill for us, for Savabeel and for New Zealand.”
Chittick’s confidence in the selling potential of the colt was backed up by the pre-auction inspections undertaken once he had arrived at the Karaka Complex.
“He’s been out over 150 times, way over 150 times,” he said.
“He just has the best attitude and is so like his father.
“He will make us proud on the racetrack and when he goes and wins the Cox Plate for Te Akau, and New Zealand, we will be even more proud.”
Ellis secured the colt as a foundation member of his 2019 Colts Breeding syndicate, a concept that has proven extremely successful for Te Akau over a number of years.
“I was hopeful I could buy him for a million dollars as he is probably the best athlete that I’ve seen at Karaka for ten years or more,” Ellis said.
“He is an absolutely stunning horse and was on everyone’s list, you didn’t have to be a genius to work out that he was the most impressive athlete on the complex.
“We’ve done a stallion syndicate for the last few years and have seven stallions at stud here in New Zealand and Australia now.
“We want to buy the best horses, as we are proud New Zealanders and we want to see the best horses that this great country breeds stay in New Zealand.”
Ellis entered the bidding with an offer of $1.2 million and admitted he was running on fumes at the conclusion of the action.
“I was on the ropes,” he said.
“I might have had one more, but I just don’t know.
“Everyone knows Te Akau has had huge success with the progeny of Savabeel and trained both of his Group One winning colts, Embellish and Hall Of Fame.
“We’ve won twelve group races with Savabeels in the last two seasons and he is a stallion that seems to suit the way we operate.”
Ellis noted that there were still shares available in his 2019 Colts breeding syndicate which he hopes to fill with one more youngster after securing a Written Tycoon colt, Lot 100, for $475,000 on the first day of the sale to join his latest purchase. – NZ Racing Desk