KARAKA MILLION 2YO: FEATURE RACE PREVIEW

Find betting tips, analysis and strategy on one of New Zealand’s richest races – the Karaka Million 2YO – headed by NZ form analyst Jason Tan. Racing tips are online now!


KARAKA MILLION 2YO 

Distance: 1200m Rail Position: True Position | Track Condition: Dead 4

The Karaka Million 2YO for the last 5 years has been dominated and won by horses from the Te Akau Racing Stables and trained by Jamie Richards, firstly in partnership (with Stephen Autridge), before being head-trainer for the most recent three editions.

Ellerslie is an undulating, right-handed track that generally races fairly, and the last-10 winners have all had experience running in races ‘that way around’ before the Karaka Million 2yo. All five of Jamie Richards’ recent winners have had a start between 8 and 15 days before the Karaka Million 2yo, with only Melody Belle (2017 – 8th) not winning that start.

Past winners over the last 10 years have been positioned on the lead at the 600m through to five and six-lengths from the leader at that point. Eight of the last 10 winners have come within lanes one to five in the straight from the 400m, with Ockham’s Razor (2012, barrier 12 of 14) coming 10-wide, and Probabeel (2019, barrier 14 of 14) entering the straight seven-wide before drifting progressively closer to the inside fence.

SPEED MAP

There is GOOD early speed in the 2022 Karaka Million 2yo, and it might end up being run faster than GOOD. MASCARINTO can lead, with GIBRALTER RISING and TIME RULER able to work forward from middle draws. DYNASTIC and FELLINI are drawn to potentially track behind the main speed and look the most likely to be advantaged by how the race is run. I expect horses like WOLVERINE and DISS IS DRAMATIC to work across to the rail and sit in the back quarter of the field for the first-400m of the race.


FINAL FIELD             

1. Fellini (6) (Rated Price $5.50)

He has progressed well in three starts and developed into a professional racehorse. His preparation best fits the profile of Richards’ five previous winners of the race and most importantly he showed at his last start that he’s at as good a form level as anything else, winning well and sprinting a 34.12 last-600m. Fellini is drawn to get the right run with the only knock being Bosson hasn’t chosen to ride him! Back.

2. Mascarinto (4) (RP $31.00)

Has shown a lot of early speed and has the side-winkers added to sharpen him further for the big race. Got out-sprinted last start and I expect that they’ll ride him more aggressively this time to make others behind work harder. Would need to find a couple of lengths but might with that gear addition.

3. Sacred Satono (1) (RP $26.00)

Drawn to track the lead and so will get his opportunity if the race is run truly. He has been given every chance to win in three starts to date but has come up short each time. Will be advantaged in the unlikely event that the track plays towards the inside. Need to find more overall though.

4. Time Ruler (9) (RP $11.00)

His last start win rated as one of the single best performances of any horse in this race. The blinkers were applied, and he lived up to an early trial and high stable opinion (albeit low-key). He had a few niggles earlier in his preparation and looks right now. His early price looks well worth taking on the assumption he can at least repeat the level of his win.

5. Lord Cosmos (14) (RP $31.00)

To the eye his win at New Plymouth was good, although he has a bit to find overall. Johnathan Parkes rode On The Bubbles to win this race last year from barrier 14, but there looks too much speed underneath him this year for him to win without a fair bit of luck.

6. Dynastic (5) (RP $5.50)

This colt has the blinkers and tongue-tie added to his gear and has been anointed by Richards and Bosson as the stable’s ‘number one seed’. He certainly looked like he could’ve won his debut race, but for a wide run and conservative tactics. Pricing him is terribly hard as his profile is against what has recently worked, and one must ‘bonus him’ well beyond his only run. My approach is to lean against him at his price without potting him heavily.

7. Alabama Gold (15) (RP $46.00)

He looks genuine but is likely to have to work too hard to get the right run to win this race. Horses that have overcome a draw like this were a class above their year (Probabeel and On The Bubbles). This maiden certainly hasn’t shown that to be the case in his performances.

8. Gibraltar Rising (10) (RP $91.00)

He hasn’t shown he’s up to the level required so far having had few excuses in three runs to date.

9. Wolverine (13) (RP $5.50)

One of the favourites and she appeared to cope well with her first run right-handed last time when promoted to victory after being beaten a nose on the line. That race was only a sprint home, so she did have more to offer and showed at Te Rapa she can sustain a longer run off a stronger speed. She’ll settle in the back quarter of the field and will need to be clearly superior in order to win, and even though she’s unbeaten, I’m not convinced that she’s that far ahead of them over 1200m right now. I’m happy to lay her at her current quote.

10. Pacific Dragon (12) (RP $11.00)

Demoted last time after beating Wolverine, and her overall performances have been consistent without being outstanding. She is unlikely to get the same run as last time, but with luck she could slot into a position from where she could be competitive. Needs to find a length though.

11. Grace ‘n’ Grey (3) SCRATCHED

12. Gwen Stephani (8) (RP $251.00)

Had no excuses when beaten by Time Ruler last time. She was simply out-gassed and needs to find lengths in order to be competitive.

13. Diss Is Dramatic (11) (rp – $15.00)

She was impressive winning her debut and it rated very well, even though the horse she beat (Knickerless) was ordinary at her next start. Only having one start and not having run right-handed hasn’t been a successful formula for winning the Karaka Million 2yo over the last 10 years, however. That said, one could entertain a small speculative outlay on her if she bounced-back out in price.

14. Timeless (2) (RP $501.00)

Hasn’t run to the necessary level to suggest that she’ll be remotely competitive here.

15. Time Flies EM (7) (RP $15.00)

Comes into the race with the scratching of Grace ‘n’ Grey. He hasn’t lived up to his starting prices of $1.20 and $1.30 in two starts so far, but those are big indicators of his ability. The blinkers are being applied and that looks a very positive factor for him. He hasn’t been beaten far by Fellini and Pacific Dragon, so it’s conceivable that he could win with improved resolve. Another worth a small speculative outlay if he makes the price.

SELECTIONS

1st – #1 – Fellini

2nd – #6 – Dynastic

3rd – #9 – Wolverine

4th – #4 – Time Ruler


SUMMARY

The 2022 Karaka Million 2yo shapes as a far more competitive race on paper than the last five years. The two market elects (DYNASTIC and WOLVERINE) have enough question-marks to say their prices are too short to back right now. I’m happiest to lay WOLVERINE. That leaves FELLINI, as the runner that presents as the right top-pick at the right price. TIME RULER found sharp improvement when winning his lead-up race and he’s worth a smaller outlay in the hope he repeats that on the 8-day back-up (Cool Aza Beel won of that in 2020). DISS IS DRAMATIC and TIME FLIES can both run well, but both haven’t had ideal preparations leading in.


BETTING STRATEGY (5 Units Outlay)

Check out full market for the Karaka Million 2YO on the Betfair Exchange.

BACK (WIN) — Fellini WIN (0.75 unit @ $5.50+)

BACK (WIN) — Time Ruler WIN (0.25 unit @ $11.00+)

LAY (WIN) — Wolverine (4 units)

Check out full market for the Karaka Million 2YO on the Betfair Exchange.


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