Early Bidding Strong for Online Sale

Lot 75 (Art Major x Alta Camilla) weanling colt
has met his reserve. 

The early numbers are very encouraging for New Zealand’s largest ever online standardbred sale.

And NZB Standardbred representative Cam Bray says that it is not just from the early bids on the All Age Sale that is online now at gavelhouse.com.

The Sale which would usually be held at Karaka migrated online due to the COVID-19 restrictions and early bidding has been very strong.

“Really, really promising,” says Bray.

“Obviously it is a week-long sale so bidding runs until next Wednesday, which is when things start to get serious.

“But we already have horses with bids of $27,000, $17,500 $12,000 and quite a few in that $5,000 range.

“That is a great start considering we have so long to go.”

The Sale is predominantly of weanlings and the top bid today (Friday) stands at $27,000 for Lot 35, a Downbytheseaside weanling filly out of Revere Me, an unraced sister to Have Faith In Me and Adore Me, therefore a rare chance to buy a filly from perhaps Australasian harness racing’s hottest family of the last decade.

Lot 75 from the Alabar draft is the brother to Alta Maestro sitting at $17,500 and certain to fetch far closer to six figures by Wednesday’s bidding cut off.

Bray says while the strength of early bids is more than encouraging he is just as excited by the new registrations to the gavelhouse.com standardbred site.

“We had 131 new registrations in the week to last Monday and about two thirds of those were from Australia,” says Bray.

“That puts us well over 1000 registered potential buyers and of course they might come back for other sales. So this sale is already strong but with real benefits for future sellers on the site.”

Bray said there had been strong interest from potential pinhookers looking to buy stock at a time of uncertainty and re-offer them at the yearling sales next February.

“I think there has actually been more pinhooking interest on gavelhouse.com than there would have been had it been under the usual sales format.”

View the catalogue on gavelhouse.com here. 

The first Lot closes at 1PM (NZT) on Wednesday 27 May with all weanlings purchased eligible for the Harness Million Series. 

-By Michael Guerin

Bidding Open for 2020 All Age Sale

Bidding is now avaliable for NZB Standardbred’s largest breeding stock sale, the 2020 All Age Sale on gavelhouse.com.

Lot 35 (Downbytheseaside x Revere Me)
Featuring 148-catalogued lots, bidding will remain open for registered buyers until Wednesday 27 May, with the first Lot closing at 1pm (NZT). To register click here.

Buyers have the opportunity to invest in a wide range of bloodstock with proven bloodlines and residual value, including siblings to Group One winners and progeny from Group One-winning dams.

Adding further appeal, all weanlings offered at the All Age Sale are eligible to be nominated for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million Race Series.

For more information, contact Cam Bray (Cam.Bray@nzb.co.nz or call +63 21 737 199) or Haylie Martin (Haylie@gavelhouse.com or call +64 22 637 8127).

For an overview of the All Age Sale from NZB Director and Operations Manager James Jennings click here.

Expert Inspections Key for All Age Sale


When it comes to buying weanlings, for respected sales veterinarian Ivan Bridge it is all in the legs.

For the first time in New Zealand standardbred sales history, the entire All Age Sale run by New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred goes online today on their gavelhouse.com platform, basically a Trade Me for potentially elite future racehorses.

The All Age Sale is usually held at Karaka but with the COVID-19 restrictions it has migrated online and the star attractions will be the weanlings, with huge drafts from both Alabar and Woodlands Stud.

While the Sale has already produced horses like millionaire Hard Copy, dual Derby winner Line Up and Southland superstar U May Cullect, it is even more attractive this year as the weanlings sold are eligible for the Harness Million series and can be pinhooked not only for yearling sales here but in Australia.

Inspection days at Alabar and three separate Woodlands properties on Tuesday saw plenty of trainers casting their eyes over the youngsters, some with the phones out Facetiming potential buyers from the South Island or Australia.

There is no doubt weanlings look greatly different from yearlings, mere babies as compared to teenagers.

So what does an expert look for when buying a weanling as opposed to the more finished product of a yearling?

“The legs are crucial,” says Bridge, the popular South Auckland vet used by so many sales buyers.

“You want their legs to be good, well conformed because that is something that may not change as much as they develop as something like them growing taller or filling out.

“You want the legs correct, or as much as they can be, not too turned out or facing in.

“Whereas their physical maturity isn’t as important because some horses develop at different rates. So that is what I have been looking at mostly this week, the legs.”

Bidding opens on gavelhouse.com at 5pm (NZT) on Wednesday and NZB’s James Jennings says the first step for potential buyers is to register.

“Gavelhouse is really easy to use and the vendors have done a great job with their videos and photos of the horses,” says Jennings.

“You can view the whole catalogue on the site at any time but it cost nothing to register. Once people have done they can bid or not bid but it gives them a chance to potentially snare a real bargain.

“And of course we will be using gavelhouse.com in its regular format for sales of broodmares, young horses and going horses all the time going forward.

“So my advice to people would be register, go have a look at the site and enjoy it and if those people can use it to find a horse they want, then even better.

“But is really is a tool for the whole industry, buyers and sellers.”

The NZB Standardbred All Age Sale runs for a week, with the countdown to final bids starting next Wednesday 27 May from 1pm (NZT). View the catalogue and register to bid online here.

– By Michael Guerin

2020 All Age Sale Update

New Zealand’s largest breeding stock sale of standardbreds featuring weanlings, yearlings, racehorses and broodmares is now live with bidding starting from 5pm tonight on gavelhouse.com.

The 2020 All Age Sale catalogue was initially available on the NZB Standardbred site to allow prospective buyers to conduct early research, with the 148-lot offering nowtransferred to the gavelhouse.com platform.

Bidding on gavelhouse.com will be available from Wednesday 20 May, with the first Lot closing on Wednesday 27 May at an earlier start time of 1pm (NZT).

While government Alert Levels previously imposed restrictions around the ability toinspect horses in-person, consignors have supplied extensive photos and video footage to give prospective buyers the best possible information about each lot on offer.

All weanlings offered are eligible to be nominated for the $1million NZB Standardbred Harness Million Race Series.

Equipped All Age Sale Final_Page_01

Read now – Equipped All Age Sale

View full catalogue – https://standardbred.gavelhouse.com/

In-Person Inspections Permitted


Under safe practice of hygiene and protocol measures, NZB Standardbred can confirm that bloodstock agents and industry licenced professionals are now permitted to enter studs and agistment farms to inspect 2020 All Age Sale stock at Level 3.

At Level 3 the approved recommendation is that bloodstock inspections are by appointment only and can only be conducted by a registered bloodstock agent or HRNZ licensed professional, specific to their area.

Prior to arrival, the agents and licensed professionals must arrange a date and time that is suitable to all parties.  They must provide their address and contact details, as well as a clear and detailed inspection list in advance of arrival.

Studs or agistment properties reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to grant or refuse access for inspections.  Under no circumstances is access to be sort without prior approval.

On arrival at the stud or agistment property, bloodstock agents, licensed professionals and contracted staff are required to maintain strict standards of personal hygiene, follow government social distancing advice and provide details for contact tracing.

NZB Standardbred encourage persons to carry some form of identification to show who they are, who they work for, and their role to support the authenticity of their travel e.g. a business card or letter from their employer or work ID.

Guidelines provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for all businesses can be found here, and further information on COVID-19 for businesses can be found here.

WorkSafe have also released guidelines on safe practice in the workplace, which you can find here.

An agent must not enter any property if they have cold or flu symptoms, including coughing, sneezing, runny nose, headache, aches or fever, or if they know or suspect that they have been in contact with a person suspected or confirmed as contracting COVID-19, or if they or a close contact has returned to New Zealand from overseas within the previous 14 days.

A list of licensed trainers is available on the HRNZ website under Infohorse > Trainer/Driver Enquiry.

While previous government Alert Levels have imposed restrictions around the ability to inspect horses in-person, consignors have supplied extensive photos and video footage to give prospective buyers the best possible information about each lot on offer, if location prevents buyers from physical inspections.

View all media and pedigree information of all 2020 All Age Sale offerings on the gavelhouse.com Standardbred website here.

Adding further appeal to the bloodstock that will be on offer, all weanlings offered at the All Age Sale to be held on gavelhouse.com, are eligible to be nominated for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million Sales Race Series.

Create a gavelhouse.com account to ensure you are registered for bidding here.

For more information, contact Cam Bray (Cam.Bray@nzb.co.nz or call +64 21 737 199) or Haylie Martin (Haylie@gavelhouse.com or call +64 22 637 8127).

Alabar Farms Support Online Sale With Quality Draft


Alabar General Manager Graeme Henley says the upcoming All Age Sale on gavelhouse.com is more than just a sale.

Because he believes it will be an important barometer for where the industry’s confidence stands coming out of the COVID-19 crisis.

The All Age Sale conducted by New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred contains a smattering of broodmares, yearlings and even the odd racehorse but it is predominantly about the weanlings, with huge offerings from Alabar and Woodlands.

And because of COVID-19 restrictions around travel and the size of gatherings, the Sale will be not only online, but over a week starting May 20 on the gavelhouse.com platform.

Online sales are proving incredibly successful in the thoroughbred world and Henley, who was the first vendor to majorly support the All Age Sale with big numbers, says the move to online for this month’s sale is both logical and could prove a success.

“We would prefer a normal sale but NZB Standardbred have been great to deal with getting this online and there will be positives to that,” says the general manager of Alabar.

“It means the Australians can be just as involved as the locals and I think that market will be boosted by the fact they have a new sales company over there so buyers can purchase weanlings here as pinhook prospects and on-sell them as yearlings over there.”

For that reason and also because the sale comes as hopefully both countries start to move out of the COVID-19 crisis, Henley sees it as a crucial barometer on where the industry is heading.

“Those markets, like pinhooking and buyers looking to pay higher end money for weanlings, will tell us a fair bit about where things are heading and how people see the near future in harness racing.”

Alabar has always been a big supporter of this Sale and Henley says the reasons are simple.

“It is because of the way our business is set up. We have had up to eight stallions on the farm here before and some breeding seasons we will serve 2,500 mares.

“That is a lot of work, even the work around the semen transportation is a lot and we simply don’t have the time or space to be preparing a lot of yearlings for the sales as the two things overlap.

“For that reason we supported this Sale very early and now Woodlands have come on board with big numbers and I think it is a really important day for the industry.”

Horses like U May Cullect have been sold by Alabar at the sale while last year they had a Kadabra weanling sell for $80,000 and a brother to Alta Maestro for $75,000.

Another brother to the latter will be one of the highlights of their 57-strong draft this month.

“We also have a sister to Star Galleria, who would be valuable for that reason alone but she is only the second filly from that dam Starlitnight and the other filly, Star Of Venus, has left Self Assured.

“So a filly like her has value to keep, pinhook or even as a broodmare because that is a really fast, current family and you just can’t buy fillies from that family.”

The stock of Alabar’s superstar Art Major are naturals for any young horse sale as he produces such athletic horses and Henley is also excited about the stock of world record holder Always B Miki and of course local hero Vincent, who has eight weanlings in their draft.

“Vincent is as good a looking horse as you would see and that comes through in the weanlings. Even the fillies look strong with good shoulders, so we think they will be popular.”

Henley says next week looms as an important day for sale with trainers and agents set to visit the South Auckland farm for inspections on Tuesday week.

“I think that is crucial,” says Henley.

“I have had a lot of people ring me and ask me about certain weanlings, which has been a good sign.

“But we expect to have trainers and agents here next week and if people can’t be here if they ring their mates who can be, with many of the top trainers going to be here, then at least they can give them an unbiased opinion.

“So that is going to be a real asset, especially for the Australians.”

Of course Alabar aren’t just relying on that, with Henley himself manning the camera for the eight individual pictures and then videos needed of all 57 weanlings for sale.

“That made an interesting experience,” he laughs.

“Trying to get 57 weanlings to do what you want when you want is a bit of a mission and I reckon it was the first time I had ever used the video function on my camera.

“But we got there, it helped we had 10 days of fine weather otherwise it would have been impossible.
What also helped with the guidance of a celebrity Nanny, former champion racehorse and Alabar stallion Elsu.

“We gelded him a couple of years ago when he was no longer commercial because if we hadn’t, he would’ve had to spend the rest of his life alone.

“So he buddies up with the odd mare these days but we actually put the weanlings in a paddock with him, in bunches of 5 or 6, for the first week when the foals come off the mares.

“He keeps them calm, shows them how to behave and loves it because he gets fed well and has some company, so we call him our celebrity Nanny.”

So as for the Sale, what can buyers expect?

“We are being very realistic about our reserves but it won’t be a fire sale because it doesn’t need to be and I can tell that by the interest we have had already.

“But the most important thing is for people to register with gavelhouse.com and then they can choose to buy or not.”

–    By Michael Guerin

Getting to know Laura Petersen


I’ve been horse mad as long as I can remember. If I didn’t have my own horse like when I moved out of home, I would find a way to ride one whether it be for work or a friends’ horse. At school I lived in the Art room, I studied Design at University and then moved to Newmarket, England for two years once I graduated. I split my time there and did a year on both Luca Cumani and Sir Michael Stoute’s yard, on my return to New Zealand it was a no brainer to combine my two passions.

What is your role with gavelhouse.com?
My role at gavelhouse.com is a Sales and Marketing Assistant, working to support gavelhouse.com General Manager Haylie Martin.

What are the day-to-day tasks involved within your role?
My role is quite diverse, as well as assisting buyers and sellers with the smooth running of the auction process before, during and after each sale. I also help Haylie with gavelhouse.com marketing campaigns, as well as being able to leave the office to photograph horses, meet clients and go to the trials and races occasionally.

What have you found most rewarding about your role at gavelhouse.com?
I get a real kick out of seeing independent owner/trainers winning races with a horse they have purchased off gavelhouse.com, as well as the great pinhook stories that come out of the yearling and RTR sales.

What is your level of involvement with the racing industry, in particular standardbreds?
I dabble in both sides of the spectrum, I ride work for Stephen Marsh which is a great way to keep up with the thoroughbred’s (and keep my waist line in check). For extra pocket money when I was at University, I worked yearling preparations at Breckon Farms and have also helped out Woodlands Stud at the sales the last couple of years. When we started selling standardbreds on gavelhouse.com I was excited to introduce our online sales platform to these farms.

Why do you think people should purchase their standardbreds from the gavelhouse.com All Age Sale?
With our parent company New Zealand Bloodstock, gavelhouse.com provides a quick, user friendly platform for buyers and sellers whilst also offering services such as Insurance and Airfreight. It also presents an opportunity for small owner/trainers and newcomers to the industry to get a foot in the door.

What are you most looking forward to in the future?
Getting an Ice Cream from Duck Island, oh and going on an overseas adventure once the airlines open!

Laura Petersen   |   gavelhouse.com Sales & Marketing
Ph +64 274 197 471
Email laura@gavelhouse.com


Woodlands Gear Up for Value Sale


Woodlands Stud boss Andrew Grierson knows he is about to gift somebody a bargain.

But he says that is all part of game for the breeding powerhouse as they count down to New Zealand’s largest ever online auction of standardbred stock.

Grierson started Woodlands Stud nearly three decades ago with Charles Roberts, his good friend who passed away last week aged 96.

“Of course it was sad to see Charles pass on but what a life he had,” said Grierson this week.

The business of running New Zealand’s largest standardbred nursery continues and a new chapter has begun with the catalogue for NZB Standardbred’s All Age Sale now online at gavelhouse.com, with bidding to start on May 20 and the sale concluding on May 27.

The change to the online format have been forced by COVID-19 restrictions and come after success of far bigger thoroughbred sales in Australia online.

Grierson says his team has done a wonderful job meeting the new challenge.

“We have a lot of horses going through, which is what you have to do when you are breeding as many horses as we do,” says Grierson.

“We breed between 150-170 mares a year and not all those foals can go to the yearling sales.

“Some go there, some we retain and some we do private deals on but this sale has been a very good outlet for others.”

That could easily lend the cynics to think of the traditional May sale as a dumping ground but Grierson says that is definitely not the case.

“We have sold horses like Hard Copy and Line Up at this sale,” explains Grierson.

“Hard Copy fetched $6000 as a weanling and went on to win over $1million, while Line Up we sold the day before his sister Partyon won the Jewels.

“The Breckons bought him and made huge profit reselling him as a yearling and he has since gone on to win two Derbys and be the top three-year-old.

“And that makes me happy. You want to see people do well because they are still our horses, by our stallions, out of our mares out there winning.”

Grierson says that has also been the case with Australian buyers who have pinhooked weanlings, taken them home and made big profits selling them at yearling sales in Australia.

So how does an operation the size of Woodlands decide who will head to the May sales as opposed to being retained or go to the more commercial February yearling sale?

Obviously being by the King, Bettors Delight, helps get you a February date, especially as demand at the yearling sales is based so much around the leading five or six stallions.

“The reality is, and it has become even clearer in the last five years, is that if we didn’t support the new stallions we brought in they would struggle to get established,” admits Grierson.

“Because so many breeders want to go to the well-known commercial which we can understand.

“So we will breed to our stallions and then sell some in February but some go to the May sale and people tend to buy them cheaper.

“That gives buyers two chances, they can pinhook them to next February or race them and have the option to sell them as horses.

“Again, with us breeding so many mares we can’t race up to 100 horses if they aren’t among the yearlings we sell.
Grierson says Woodlands use the stallion’s service fee as a good indicator for the reserve at a sale.

“Obviously you don’t want to go much lower than that but sometimes we do. We get together as a team and work out what we think is a fair but also realistic price and go from there.”

With this month’s sale on gavelhouse.com, the Woodlands team have had to approach the marketing differently, with even more emphasis on photos and video because buyers won’t be able to see the horses for sale on the day.

“So we have taken a lot more photos than we would with previous sales and concentrated on things buyers might find important, like specific areas of the horses to check conformation.

“We are lucky we have a good team here with Tony Grayling, whose daughter Maddy did the photos, and Kelly Blakemore and then Stacey White has been able to package those up with details about the horses.

So how does Grierson expect the sale to go on gavelhouse.com at a time of such economic uncertainty?

“I think it will go well. I think we can expect good Australian interest because of the prices and the good pin-hooking success they have had, plus the fact they are not disadvantaged in any way by not being here.

“And it is a big bonus that weanlings offered here will be eligible for the Harness Millions series.

“But of course there will be bargains. That is the attraction of this sale.”

-By Michael Guerin

2020 All Age Sale Live on gavelhouse.com


The 2020 All Age Sale catalogue is now live on gavelhouse.com Standardbred.

Bidding for the Sale is set to open from Wednesday 20 May, with the first Lot closing on Wednesday 27 May.

It is important to note that bidding of the first Lot will now close at a new start time of 1pm (NZT) on 27 May, instead of the previously proposed time of 5pm.

Taking into account government restrictions where in-person inspections of All Age stock are currently not viable, NZB Standardbred has worked closely in conjunction with industry leader in online auctions, gavelhouse.com, to ensure buyers have enhanced access to a strong line up of 148 lots.

Group One-winning bloodlines aren’t the only type on offer at the All Age Sale. Bidders can also secure siblings to black-type winners and progeny from Group-winning dams, who have ample credentials to follow the example of their winning families.

The line-up includes Lot 8, a half-sister to Group Two NZ Welcome Stakes winner Alta Orlando (NZ) (Courage Under Fire). She is a Sunshine Beach weanling filly out of Group Three-winning dam La Joconde from Alabar Farms.

Lot 18 is a half-brother to Group Three winner Motu Gatecrasher (NZ) (Changeover), a weanling colt by Woodlands Stud stallion Downbytheseaside out of Motu Fantasy.

Group Two Waikato Flying Mile winner Star Galleria (NZ) (Art Major) is a full-sibling to Art Major weanling filly (Lot 51) out of Starlitnight on account of Alabar Farms.

From the draft of Alabar Farms, Lot 59 is a half-sister to Group Two Kaikoura Cup winner Classie Brigade (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight). The weanling filly is by Rock N Roll Heaven out of Group Three-winning dam Trigirl Brigade.

Art Major weanling colt (Lot 74) is out of Group Three WA Breeders Stakes winner Alchemist (NZ) (Mach Three) out of the Alabar Farms draft.

Alabar Farms’ Lot 75 is an Art Major weanling colt out of Alta Camilla and is a full-brother to Group Three winner Alta Maestro (NZ) and half-brother to Group Three winner Alta Jerome (NZ) (Jereme’s Jet).

Offered through Woodlands Stud’s draft, What the Hill weanling filly (Lot 79) is out of Amanda’s Gem, making her a half-sister to Group Three winner Rompers Monarchy (NZ) (Monarchy).

Group Two winner Classic American (NZ) (American Ideal) is a half-sibling to an American Ideal weanling colt (Lot 93) out of Classic Vicolo from Woodlands Stud.

Art Major weanling colt out of Hu Hu from Alabar Farms (Lot 123) is a half-brother to Group Three winner Gotta Go Ya Hu (NZ) (Big Jim).

Lot 143 offered on account of L. Mellsop is a Bettor’s Delight broodmare out of Pacing Grace, making her a half-sister to multiple Group-winning sibling Pacing Major (NZ) (Art Major) and Group Three winner All U Need Is Faith (NZ) (Art Major).


Adding further appeal to the bloodstock that will be on offer, all weanlings entered into the All Age Sale on gavelhouse.com are eligible to be nominated for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million Race Series.

The All Age Sale has already been promoted for a number of weeks on the NZB Standardbred website, giving prospective buyers early access to the offerings including additional photos and videos.

It is important that buyers creative a gavelhouse.com account to ensure they are registered for bidding. A full step-by-step buyer how-to guide can be downloaded here.

For more information, contact Cam Bray (Cam.Bray@nzb.co.nz or call +63 21 737 199) or Haylie Martin (Haylie@gavelhouse.com or call +64 22 637 8127).

Level 3 Covid-19 Equine Activities update


Guidance on equine activities permitted under COIVID-19 Alert Level 3

30 April 2020

The following relevant information was provided among guidance issued today by the Ministry for Primary Industries.  NZTR also reminds all employers/businesses that they must have a COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan (refer link to Worksafe template) to operate under COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

Any queries may be directed to Martin Burns, GM Welfare & Sustainability.

Horse Transport

At Level 3 horses are classed as freight, and all freight can be distributed and received.  Therefore, providing you use a commercial horse transporter the horses that need to be moved can go anywhere else in New Zealand.

If you are transporting horses within your region, this can be done with a private float. If you are doing this please ensure you practice safe distancing, strict hygiene measures, and contact tracing is possible, reduce risks to yourself and the horses. This should be something you have done before.

Farriers, Horse care services (including clippers, saddle fitters, dentistry, chiropractors etc)

Animal and horse care service businesses may operate at Alert Level 3, but only if they can meet safe practice requirements and can operate without physical contact with (human) customers, and any other public health measures are taken to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.  If they can’t operate safely, they must not provide their services.

The Ministry of Health advises there is no risk from animals having COVID-19, but just like with inanimate objects, they can be fomites or vehicles for transmission.

I’m a breeder/seller/transporter of horses. How do I operate safely?

Businesses can operate at Alert Level 3 if they can meet safe practice requirements and can operate without physical contact with customers e.g. through online viewings/sales, contactless pick-up and drop-off.

People are not allowed to view animals in person for sale or adoption.  Animal rescue centres or adoption centres remain closed to the public. Alternative options to conduct viewings for adoption/rehoming must be used, e.g. online.

If customers are coming to your property to fetch a horse, you should adhere to all the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including:

·       Regular disinfecting of surfaces and equipment used to handle animals.

·       Encouraging good hand hygiene by allowing frequent hand washing and sanitising.

·       Not having sick people in the workplace.

·       Meeting physical distancing requirements when picking-up and dropping off animals.

General advice

During Alert Level 3, everyone should strive for social distancing of no less than 1 metre.

Customers cannot enter business premises at Alert Level 3, with a few exceptions (eg supermarkets and petrol stations).

WorkSafe has guidance for businesses on preparing to open at Alert Level 3 here: https://worksafe.govt.nz/managing-health-and-safety/novel-coronavirus-covid/covid-19-advice-for-businesses-operating-at-alert-level-3.

If your business cannot operate safely, it needs to remain closed.

·      Please note you should also prepare a COVID-19 safety plan for your workplace. Information about that can be found here: https://worksafe.govt.nz/managing-health-and-safety/novel-coronavirus-covid/covid-19-safety-plan-what-you-need-to-think-about


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