Lot 45 2 c Rip Van Winkle – Half Bak (Churchill Downs) $152,500 (draft: Leanach Lodge)
A three-quarter brother to Te Akau Shark (Rip Van Winkle), he wound up impressively in his breeze up, showing terrific stretch near the line, clocking a smart 10.71 seconds, and Karaka Million Eligible.
Te Akau principal David Ellis purchased Te Akau Shark at the 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale for $230,000 and most recently he produced an astonishing performance to win the Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (Gr. 2, 1600m) by six lengths on 14 November at Riccarton.
The winner of five from six, his only defeat came at the hands of stable-mate Embellish (Savabeel) in the 2000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) last year, and he has the Doncaster Handicap (Gr. 1, 1600m) as an autumn target in Sydney.
“Although he’s not a chestnut (like Te Akau Shark), he is identical in every other way,” Ellis said.
“He’s a lovely colt with a lot of class and a family that just continues to leave very good racehorses.”
From a young mare, his dam, Half Bak, is by Churchill Downs (Danehill), a high-class sprinter/miler in Australia, the grand-dam, Bak Da Chief (Chief Bearhart), won five races including the Waikato Cup (Gr. 2, 2400m), and impressive winning great grand-dam Havitbak (Bakhaoff) left Easter Handicap (Gr. 1, 1600m) winner Pondarosa Miss (High Chaparral) and Ecuador (High Chaparral), a dual stakes winner and runner-up to Winx in the 2015 Epsom Handicap (Gr. 1, 1600m) at Randwick, he won 10 races and amassed $1.13m in prize money.
“The progeny of Rip Van Winkle keep getting better with age and like Te Akau Shark we think this horse is an ideal horse to prepare for the 2000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 2000m) and races over more distance,” Ellis said.
“He’s a horse we inspected during the yearling sales, but he’s developed enormously since then and I was really taken by him. We thought the price was very fair and would have paid more for him if we had too.
“When you buy a horse like him, from this family, for $150,000 at the Ready to Run Sale, that’s been broken in, educated, and not far away from racing, you’ve got to be happy.”