Denman Colt Wins Karaka Million Curtain Raiser
Media Release - Wednesday January 2

In a mouth-watering taste of what might be to come in the Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie on January 26, three highly rated Karaka graduates fought out an exciting finish in the $70,000 Group 3 Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m) at the same venue on New Year's Day.

Prior to their eagerly anticipated clash,Whiskey Neat(Denman),Aotea Lad(NZ) (Savabeel) and Exuberant(NZ) (Savabeel) had all had one start for one win.

Whiskey Neat - Trish DunnellThe $220,000 Book 1 purchase Whiskey Neat had scored a spectacular debut victory at Otaki, winning by 10 lengths.

Aotea Lad, who cost $200,000 at the same Sale, made a perfect start to his career by winning the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Trentham early last month.

Exuberant, who was bought for $160,000, won the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1000m) at Trentham in his only previous appearance, earlier in the spring.

Whiskey Neat was sent straight to the lead in the Eclipse by rider Leith Innes, and he produced a kick to move well clear at the top of the straight.

Aotea Lad and Exuberant produced powerful finishing bursts to move up alongside him in the last 150 metres, but Whiskey Neat had enough up his sleeve to hold them at bay by a length.

"He got quite lost today off the bridle," trainer Tony Pike said. "It's obviously a lot stronger race today.

"Leith (Innes) rode him well, cuddled him up around the corner, but when he went for him it took him a while to work it out.

"He changed legs a couple of times and had a good look at the winning post, so he will obviously improve off that.

"He needed to win today to think you were a chance of winning the Karaka Million. He has beaten some nice two-year-olds behind him.

"He'll improve a lot, so we're looking forward to three and a half weeks from today."

Raced by S T Leung, Whiskey Neat has now had two starts for two wins and $56,060 in prizemoney.

Vendor Koru Thoroughbreds Ltd
Purchaser Waikato Bloodstock (BAFNZ) (Waikato)
Breeding Denman – Ouija
Sale Lot 454, Karaka 2018 Book 1, $220,000
Bred by Mr A Williams