Racing heavyweight Sir Peter Vela has put his full might behind the National Yearling Sale and his support has been paid back enormously at Karaka in the past two days.
Vela is not only the owner of New Zealand Bloodstock, who own the Karaka sales complex and run all New Zealand's major thoroughbred sales, but he also owns major breeding operation Pencarrow Stud.
Usually Vela would want to retain at least some of the horses he breeds every season for racing or future breeding purposes, but with the challenges facing the yearling sales this season, he decided to support this week's Karaka sale with everything he bred in New Zealand.
The results have been spectacular.
Not only did Pencarrow have the top lot of the sale so far in an $800,000 Zoustar filly sold on Sunday but they had both top lots sold yesterday.
They sold a Tavistock colt for $520,000 late in the day to Te Akau and earlier sold a Savabeel filly for $450,000 to Nearco Stud.
"We are very satisfied and proud of what we have been able to achieve after two says," said Vela.
"At a different time, I would have loved to keep some of these fillies, as any breeder would, but I realise the sale was facing a challenging time for all the obvious reasons around Covid.
"So I wanted to support it as much as possible, so we put everything we bred in the sale.
"To top the sale and then have such strong results on day two is very satisfying and we have sold plenty of horses that are going to great homes."
As proud as Vela is of what Pencarrow has achieved, he was just as proud of what New Zealand Bloodstock's staff have produced both in the lead-up to the sale and this week.
"Covid has been so challenging for all of us but we are lucky to be in a country where we can hold this sale and have people here and we realise that," he offers.
"But from a sales point of view, we have had the challenge of not being able to get our overseas buyers here and a lot of people on the NZB team have had to work really hard to find solutions to that.
"So I am very proud of what they have achieved for the industry."
After a solid first day of the sale on Sunday, yesterday saw strong domestic interest, with plenty of New Zealand trainers busy.
Te Akau's David Ellis and trainer Jamie Richards were by far the biggest buyers, with around 25 horses by the close of business yesterday, but Team Rogerson was also busy, with around 10 purchases.
So, too, was agent Bruce Perry, buying both domestically and for Danny O'Brien in Victoria, and Chris Rutten, helping out the Waterhouse-Bott stable in New South Wales.
Go Racing signed for six lots in the first two days, while all the other major stables were buying yesterday.
While the average was down on last year, it was at a realistic level of around 10 per cent, and vendors were mainly happy going to the market, with a clearance rate of just over
81 per cent yesterday.
The last day of Book 1 selling continues at 1pm today, with Book 2 selling on Wednesday and Thursday.