Racing: The long and winding road to Karaka sale

Wayne Stewart. Photo / Supplied
Wayne Stewart. Photo / Supplied

Three fillies at the New Zealand Bloodstock Select sale will have a unique claim to fame.

The trio who make up White Robe Lodge's 2017 draft will have clocked up the longest Kiwi road trip by the time they check into Barn I.

Accompanied by White Robe Lodge stud manager Wayne Stewart, the fillies will set out from Wingatui around January 20 with a long and winding trip ahead of them.

"We will travel to Christchurch, stay the night and then, early morning about 4am head to Blenheim," Stewart said.

"Previously we would connect with the ferry and get as far as Bulls that night.

"Now we stop at Blenheim and get the ferry the next morning."

The decimation of State Highway One during the Kaikoura earthquake has added an extra day to their trip north and will take them via an inland road which a spokesman for Majestic Horse Floats said is not really built for what it is being used for now.

"It is very narrow in parts. It's a bit of a nightmare," he said.

Once through the three hour ferry trip, Stewart and his draft will head up to the Majestic depot at Bulls for another overnighter and an early morning departure for Karaka.

"I will give them four or five days at a property 10 minutes from the sales complex," he said.

Like any good, keen, southern man, Stewart is fairly pragmatic about the lengthy trip to Karaka, choosing to see the benefits.

"It is a big trip, but they definitely grow up, it sets them up for the future," he said. "With the floats these days, they are very good with great facilities. And, apart from the mishap this year, the roads are better than they were 10 or 20 years ago."

The Anderton family's White Robe Lodge has been part of the tapestry of yearling sales history in New Zealand for the past 60 years but in 2016, for the first time, the stud was not represented at Karaka.

"We kept them back for the South Island sale and this year we have kept our colts back for that sale too, but these are three nice fillies so we thought we would target Karaka with them," Stewart said.

"They are out of good winning mares, who between them have won 25 races."

The first of the White Robe Lodge draft to go through the ring is by Gallant Guru out of the two-time Group Three winner Inferno.

The winner of 10 races is a half-sister to stakes winner Ortem Fire, who will have a Reliable Man filly at the sale.

"The hope was that Reliable Man will take the family to the next level," Stewart said.

The third filly is by Zacinto out of Of The Essence, the winner of 10 races and from the same family as top Southern galloper A Gordon For Me.

Of The Essence and Inferno are both daughters of Yamanin Vital, whose son Who Shot Thebarman has flown the flag for White Robe Lodge.

"We have a half-brother by Ghibellines to market at the sales in 2018," Stewart said.

"With a new sire to promote we will be taking yearlings to Karaka as it will give him [Ghibellines] better opportunities."

With luck the 2018 draft will face a slightly shorter road trip. NZ Racing Desk

- NZ Herald

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