Week in Rowe-view

Williams confident in Darci Brahma’s broodmare sire potential

Darci Brahma (Danehill) is a sire who arguably doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves, but The Oaks Stud’s Rick Williams is convinced perhaps the stallion’s biggest legacy will be as a broodmare sire.

Already the dam sire of 2021 New Zealand 2000 Guineas winner Pier (Proisir) and stakes winners Finance Tycoon (Written Tycoon), Only Words (Sweynesse) and Yaletown (Vancouver), it is the cross with New Zealand’s champion sire Savabeel where Williams believes Darci Brahma will really leave his mark.

So much so, that Williams and The Oaks Stud owner Dick Karreman went to NZ$400,000 for a Savabeel colt last Sunday in the hope that he could one day join the roster at the Cambridge farm.

The Waikato Stud-bred colt is out of Glee (O’Reilly), who is from the family of Group 1 winners Aegon (Sacred Falls) and Daffodil (No Excuse Needed).

“The right son of Savabeel would be marvellous, but I just liked him. I thought he was an earlier type and he’s bred on that magic [O’Reilly] cross. Let’s see if he’s a good horse first, but that’s the dream,” Williams said.

“We’ve always tried to look at another stallion and buying them off the track nowadays is probably beyond us, so we’ll have a punt on a yearling like everyone else and we hope the dream comes true.

“We just bought one this year. We’ve paid $300,000 to $400,000 for fillies the last couple of years, but we’ll just see what happens with this colt. I just thought he was a bit of a sharper type and within 12 months we’ll know whether we’ve got something or not.”

Darci Brahma, a champion sire in Singapore, is responsible for 12 individual Group 1 winners including Hong Kong’s D B Pin; the recently retired Sierra Sue; Australian Oaks winner Gust Of Wind, and the highly talented, but injury prone Catalyst. 

Williams’ son Dean works at Flemington for trainer Mike Moroney, who is in the box seat to prepare The Oaks Stud’s new recruit.


Another colt by Savabeel was expected to be right at the pointy end of this week’s National Sale – and possibly top the 2023 edition – the brother to 2,000 Guineas winner Noverre, who covered his first book of mares at Waikato Stud last spring.

However, the colt, the fourth foal out of Group 3 winner Magic Dancer (Rip Van Winkle), suffered a setback on the eve of the NZB sale, forcing Waikato Stud’s Mark Chittick to scratch the drawcard colt.

“He’s being broken in at the moment. It was only a minor issue,” Chittick revealed. 

“I think the big thing is taking it one step at a time with him and seeing how he progresses. There’s plenty of time to make a few decisions, whether he’s (offered at the) Ready to Run Sale or we race him or whatever else we do with him.”


Phill Cataldo’s reputation is second to none as a New Zealand agent across all facets of the bloodstock industry, but there is no doubt he excels in identifying and brokering deals for impressive trial and tried horses suitable for the Australian market.

I’m Thunderstruck and Sierra Sue, both Group 1 winners in Australia, are among Cataldo’s flagship Kiwi-breds who he spotted at the trials and brokered deals to on-sell them across the Tasman.

Cataldo is at trackwork on his home racecourse of Cambridge three to four times a week, as well as making the half an hour drive to Matamata at least once a fortnight to cast his eye over horses galloping and jumping out at the other major training centre in the North Island.  

Because of his work ethic and intimate knowledge of the horse pool in the region, it provides him with a big edge in assessing the respective strength of the jump outs and races in quick time.

Such is the attention on jump-outs and trials, the majority of which are filmed, they come under the immediate attention of form analysts and agents in New Zealand and Australia who work for numerous owners and trainers across the ditch. 

Thus, time is of the essence when spotting and then trying to negotiate a potential deal and those watching them live on course – principally Cataldo – have an advantage over those waiting for the vision to be uploaded online.

There might only be a 15-minute delay between the jumpout and the video being posted, but that’s enough for the likes of Cataldo to get the jump on the potential opposition for a star trialler.


During a bit of downtime after a day at the sales, Jamie Richards, who is gaining momentum in his maiden season training in Hong Kong, with another winner at Happy Valley on Wednesday night, and Mick Kent Jnr were enjoying a drink together, alongside a couple of agents and other industry identities. 

The gathering made me wonder who is the next trainer from Australasia who will earn a licence in the lucrative jurisdiction of Hong Kong?

Kent Jnr, who is training a swag of big-race winners alongside Mick Price in Victoria, sprung to mind. He is young, ambitious and articulate – a key trait when it comes to attracting and looking after Hong Kong’s wealthy elite who partake in racing. 

He has also, importantly, demonstrated that he knows how to train a range of horses and he has been instrumental in the Price Kent Racing stable, sourcing a variety of horses from Europe and America to complement the Australasian-breds.

Training in Asia is not completely foreign to him, either, having spent his early years in Singapore where his father Mick Kent Snr trained, and he would appear to meet criteria similar to that used by the Jockey Club to lure New Zealand’s premier trainer Richards to Sha Tin last year.


The rain in Auckland over the past week – and last Friday, in particular – was like something I’ve never experienced before, nor have Kiwis who have been coming to Karaka since its inception in 1988.

The wettest day in Auckland’s history, the NZB Karaka complex received 260 millimetres of rain in just a few hours and other parts of the city reportedly had more than 400 millimetres of rain, causing landslides, flooding and the closure of the airport.

Curraghmore’s Gordon Cunningham and auctioneer Steve Davis were among those to say they’d never witnessed a bigger rain event, but the next day the Karaka complex – widely regarded as the best in the world – was relatively unscathed, which enabled inspections to continue.

“The grassed parade areas held up beautifully and there’d be plenty of complexes around the world that wouldn’t have been able to cope with the water we had on Friday,” NZB managing director Andrew Seabrook said.