New Zealand’s richest raceday sees a further boost

28 Jul 2023
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

New Zealand’s richest raceday will be further enhanced in 2024 with stakes increases and the launch of a new partnership announced for New Zealand Bloodstock’s iconic Karaka Millions raceday, a highlight of the Auckland Thoroughbred Racing calendar.

Prowess pictured after her victory in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Pukekohe Park in January. Photo: Trish Dunell

The prizemoney for the feature three-year-old race for sales graduates will be boosted to $1.5 million from 2024, an increase of $500,000.

The feature two-year-old race for sales graduates remains at $1 million, while the addition of a $1 million four-year-old mile race, open to all horses, takes the six-race card for the Karaka Millions raceday to a whole new level.

In another exciting development, NZB and TAB, the New Zealand betting brand operated by Entain Australia and New Zealand, have formed a five-year partnership, securing TAB the naming rights to the TAB Karaka Millions Twilight Meeting and its two lucrative incentive races for graduates of the Karaka sales.

New Zealand Bloodstock’s Managing Director Andrew Seabrook is delighted to have the iconic New Zealand brand onboard, noting that both parties share similar ambitions for the Karaka Millions and the wider racing industry.

“The energy and vision that the Entain team brings to this partnership is a breath of fresh air and we look forward to working with them as we continue to grow the Karaka Millions raceday and series,” Seabrook said.

“NZTR getting behind the Karaka Millions with the increase in stakes to $1.5 million for the three-year-old race, plus the addition of the $1 million four-year-old race to the card is tremendous. They have identified the Karaka Millions raceday as one of the most important meetings on the racing calendar and this support will only help it grow further.”

Invigorated by its recent strategic partnering agreement, Entain recognises the universal appeal the Karaka Millions holds for punters and industry participants alike.

“We have watched the Karaka Million grow from its inception in 2008 to the blue-riband raceday it is today,” said Cameron Rodger, Managing Director – New Zealand, Entain Australia and New Zealand.

“We know this raceday and the yearling sales that follow are hugely important to the fortunes of New Zealand racing and breeding, New Zealand Bloodstock is a great success story in New Zealand racing, and we’re proud to partner with them for this amazing event.

“We’re also establishing a Travel Incentive Scheme, which commits up to $150,000 towards a scheme developed with New Zealand Bloodstock to attract Australian-based horses to run in the Karaka feature events. Having Australian-based horses in these races will create a great opportunity to grow the audience in Australia.”

Held on the eve of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sales Series, the Karaka Millions not only showcases high-calibre thoroughbreds to elite industry participants, it also draws one of the largest and most diverse crowds.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing chief executive Bruce Sharrock acknowledged the broad appeal of the Karaka Millions.

“It is another positive development for the industry, the three-year-old race and the meeting as a whole has become one of the true features on the racing calendar,” he said.

“NZTR embraces the continued elevation of this race and meeting, and working with NZB to achieve this is great. We also congratulate Entain and NZB on the partnership formed, which will continue to grow the entire week and further develop the success of the sales and racing event.”

The TAB Karaka Millions will be held on the eve of the Karaka 2024 National Yearling Sales Series, Saturday 27 January 2024, hosted by Auckland Thoroughbred Racing.

Kicking off the week-long selling extravaganza, Book 1 of the National Yearling Sales Series will commence the following day at the Karaka Sales Centre from Sunday 28 to Tuesday 30 January, followed by Book 2 running from Wednesday 31 January to Friday 2 February.


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