Cambridge trainer John Bell had to do a second take when he saw lot 169 at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Karaka sales complex this week.
The Exceed and Excel colt out of Pins mare Chateau d’Yquem, who was offered through Lyndhurst Farm’s draft, reminded him a lot of Group One winner Julius and Group Three winner Mosse and he was so taken with the colt that he went to $525,000 to secure him.
“There’s a touch of Julius to him and another very good horse Mosse. That type of horse is what we go for,” Bell said.
“He was the horse that we just had to have and I would have got him for $75,000 cheaper if it wasn’t for Steve Davis. He is a hell of an auctioneer.”
Bell purchased the colt for a Hong Kong client, however, his initial preparation will take place in New Zealand at Bell’s barn before he is exported to the thriving Asian racing jurisdiction.
“I have bought him for a friend in Hong Kong who has raced a number of good horses, including Fellowship, who was a very good horse up there by O’Reilly.
“I am not quite sure who the trainer will be up there yet but he will be well prepared when he goes.”
While international buyers were not able to be at Karaka because of travel restrictions, Bell said they were serviced well through additional content and New Zealand-based bloodstock agents.
“The Asian market has a lot of confidence in the relationships with the agents they have got over here,” Bell said.
“There are so many guys who know each other well and they trust each other.
“The content that has been put out promoting the horses with videos, photos, and run-ups, it’s just incredible.
“They don’t have to come down with all the information that is supplied and with them trusting their agents down here.
“You can cross your Ts and dot your Is probably moreso than previous years.”
Group One winner Julius, the horse who the colt reminded him of, will make his raceday return at Pukekohe on Saturday where he will contest the Listed Haunui Farm Counties Bowl (1100m) for Bell.
“He has drawn the outside gate (16), it won’t worry us too much. That grey mare of Alex Oliveira’s (Only In Jakarta) may head to the front.
“From that draw we will be camped outside the first three or four. We would love him to weigh in, but New Year’s (Gr.1 Railway, 1200m) is our aim.”
Julius has been recovering from heel issues following his run in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) and Bell said he is now in good fettle which was reinforced with an exhibition gallop at Te Aroha earlier this month.
“His bumpers were red raw (after the Foxbridge) which upset us with all the issues he has had in the past,” Bell said.
“That particular day turned into a disaster, but his heels are good now and we are more than happy with him.
“I was happy with his exhibition gallop and I can say he is better now than what he was this time last year.”