The Oaks Stud General Manager, Rick Williams was quietly confident leading into the weekend that owner Dick Karreman and resident stallion Darci Brahma could be in for plenty of thrills from their racing representatives engaged at both Hastings and Ruakaka on Saturday.
However, even he couldn’t predict the level of success they would enjoy with Karreman represented by four individual winners, all sired by Darci Brahma, who also added two further victories to rack up a sensational six successes for the day.
“I said to a few people that we had our A team running on the weekend so if we didn’t go too well it was going to be a pretty tough drive home,” Williams said.
“What eventuated was pretty sensational and probably even exceeded my expectations.
“Dick was watching it all unfold from home and I know he got a huge kick out of it.
“He is a non-drinker but he even told me he might have a couple to celebrate on Saturday night, so that was something very special.”
Karreman kicked the day off with a win in the inquiry room at Hastings when three-year-old filly Kali was promoted to first after suffering interference when finishing second behind Jennifer Eccles in the second race on the day. Catalyst dominated his three-year-old rivals as he streaked to a four-length victory in the Listed El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) before lightly raced four-year-old mare Spring Bouquet stormed home to win over 1400m.
In between times, debutant three-year-old Double Impact set tongues wagging at Ruakaka when he came from near last to win against a handy field of age-group rivals over 1000m.
For Williams, the wins of Catalyst and Double Impact vindicated the opinion he has held of the pair since they first appeared on the training track last year.
“We’ve said all along we thought we had something special with this pair and another in Darci’s Tune that we have sent over to Patrick Payne in Melbourne,” he said.
“Dick asked me one day who I thought was the best and I told him I couldn’t split them. After yesterday I’m of the same opinion.
“Catalyst was super as he dwelt a little at the start and had to be used up to get a position. He dropped the bit perfectly and when Troy (Harris) asked him to go he just burst away.
“Troy told me afterwards he thought he was just like his old man (Darci Brahma) as he had ridden Darci in all of his trackwork and he had the same type of explosive speed.
“Double Impact is a slightly different type but what he did to win was just as impressive as you don’t often see them come from where he did to win at Ruakaka, where it can be almost impossible to make up ground at times.”
With Karreman having put up the ‘not for sale’ sign on both horses Williams is resigned to seeing the pair clash later in the season however until then he is keen to keep them apart wherever possible.
“We would like to get them both to the 2000 Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m) at Riccarton in November but I would hope they can take a slightly different path to get there as I don’t want to see them clash before then,” he said.
“Catalyst will most likely go to the Hawke’s Bay Guineas (Gr.2, 1400m) but that is five weeks away so he could need another run before then which could be back at Hastings on the second day of the carnival.
“Double Impact could also go to the second day there but we might think about sending him down south a little earlier as there are a number of suitable races to get him ready for Riccarton down there.
“If they do come up as I think they can then the long-term plan would see them in Australia in the autumn.”
Williams also had a smile on his face as he reflected on the day’s success for Darci Brahma.
“You have to hand it to him as he just keeps churning out the winners,” he said.
“His percentage of winners to runners is sensational and I think Catalyst was his 39th individual stakes winner.
“In saying that, he probably won’t attract any more mares because of it, as the breeders tend to shy away from him for whatever reason.
“That doesn’t bother us as he will serve around 100 mares this season which is pretty much par for the course for him.
“I doubt whether what happened on the weekend will change things much for him, but we know he is a terrific stallion and his record proves that.”
Darci Brahma stands at The Oaks Stud at a service fee of $15,000+GST for the current breeding season. – NZ Racing Desk