Thu, 04 January 2018
Haunui Farm graduates have enjoyed a stellar two months, as have the Haunui stallions, Iffraaj (GB) (Zafonic) and Showcasing (GB) (Oasis Dream), who have become a dominant duo at the head of the 2YO leader board this season landing three of the five 2YO stakes races so far and siring the trifecta in the Group Three Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Arguably the best 2YO in the country at the present time is Melt (NZ) (Ifrraaj), a filly born and raised at Haunui Farm on behalf of her owner/breeder, Andrew Fowler. Winner of the Listed Ashford Lodge 2YO Stakes (1100m) at Counties on debut, she was a dominant winner of the Eclipse Stakes at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day and all going well, looks to have a strong hand to play in feature 2YO racing later this season. And, to the relief of every trainer with a runner eligible for the Karaka Million, Melt isn’t.
Another not eligible for the Karaka Million is arguably the most consistent 2YO in New Zealand this season, Bit Lippy (NZ) (Showcasing). Also born and raised at Haunui Farm for his breeder, Emma Evans, and raced in the ownership of her daughter Danielle, Bit Lippy was runner-up to Melt at Counties, he ran third in the Group Two Wakefield Challenge Stakes and put in an impressive performance from last in the Eclipse Stakes on Monday seeing him finish runner-up to Melt again.
Xpression (NZ) (Showcasing) rounds out the 2YO black type trio for Haunui Farm this season running out an impressive winner of the Group Two Wakefield Challenge Stakes at just her second start. Another Haunui graduate, she was retained to race in the Haunui colours and like Melt and Bit Lippy, will be biding her time as the Karaka Million looms, waiting for Group One targets in the Autumn.
Haunui Farm Managing Director, Mark Chitty says, “It has been a phenomenal two months for both stallions, in particular Showcasing who is flying at the top of the two-year-old table. He’s got two qualified for the Karaka Million and has three of the top six or seven 2YO’s in the country. And outside of those he also has Stella Noire who was an impressive winner on debut at Ellerslie on Boxing Day. She’s another that won’t be at the Karaka Million but I’m sure we will see her stepping out in the Autumn.
“Iffraaj had a landmark season last season with two Derby winners and this season he has the top 2YO Melt, which once again proves his versatility. He’s already won a Karaka Million 2YO and if Melt had gone through the sale ring, I’d say she would have been pretty hard to beat in the big race in a few weeks’ time.
“It’s certainly exciting for us to be heading into the yearling sales with two stallions that are really performing.”
Iffraaj is represented by 39 yearlings at Karaka 2018, 22 of those are in Book 1. Whilst Showcasing has just 30 yearlings catalogued for the sales series.
Mark continues, “Anyone looking for a Karaka Million runner should be looking at Showcasing. His first crop were eligible in 2015 and he’s had runners in the race every year. He won it with Hardline in 2015, was runner-up in 2016 with Showmeyamoneyhoney and Princess Rihanna ran 4th last year. So, going off those stats, he’s at least a 1 in 30 chance of having another runner in the 2019 rendition.”