Mon, 29 January 2024

Te Akau secure Snitzel colt


CameraLot 360, the Snitzel – Rondinella colt consigned by Haunui Farm. Photo: Trish Dunell

Te Akau Racing's David Ellis has been as active as ever on the first two days of the 2024 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale at Karaka on Sunday and Monday, building a formidable arsenal of yearlings that he believes can put Te Akau in the Karaka Millions spotlight for the eighth time in nine years.

In his eyes, none fit that bill better than a Snitzel colt he secured for $825,000 on Monday afternoon.

Catalogued as Lot 360, the Haunui Farm colt is by champion Australian sire Snitzel and is the first foal out of the Ocean Park mare Rondinella.

A half-sister to Group Two winners Vavasour and Vilanova and three-quarter-sister to the Group Three-winning Celebrity Dream, Rondinella won four races from 1400m to 2100m and placed in the Gr.1 New Zealand Stakes (2000m), Tancred Stakes (2400m) and Sydney Cup (3200m).

“We’re absolutely over the moon to be able to take a Snitzel colt of that quality home,” Ellis said. “We thought that he was one of the best colts we’ve seen at Karaka in five or six years. Karaka Millions, here we come.

“He’s got beautiful size, balance and looks like he’s got a good temperament. You can see in my book – ‘Real two-year-old type. Karaka Millions winner.’

“There was good competition for him, but there is on all of these good colts. Snitzel is one of the best sires we’ve had in this part of the world in the last 50 years, he’s that good, and this is the sort of money that you have to pay to buy a colt with this quality. We’re thrilled. But I didn’t have a lot left – I was on the ropes!”

Ellis has previously had Group One success with Snitzel’s progeny, with Sword Of State capturing the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) before embarking on a stallion career at Cambridge Stud. But Ellis believes Monday’s star colt holds more similarities with another former elite performer in those tangerine colours.

“He’s not the same sort of horse as Sword Of State,” Ellis said. “I think he’s more like Darci Brahma, who was champion two-year-old, three-year-old and four-year-old. He won a Group One in Australia as a two-year-old, and I think this colt is the same. After the Karaka Millions, I could see us turning him out for a week and then getting him ready for the Golden Slipper (1200m). That’s the plan.”

Ellis knows Rondinella’s family well, having bought her half-brother Vilanova for $150,000 at Karaka in 2012. He began his career in New Zealand under the name Catalonia, scoring a three-length Listed win at Te Rapa before finishing fourth in the Gr.3 Eclipse Stakes (1200m) and fifth in the Karaka Million. He later won the Gr.2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield and the Gr.3 Grand Prix (2200m) in Brisbane. -NZ Racing Desk