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Karaka Million heavy hitters join forces - NZ Racing Desk

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The two leading figures of Karaka Million night, Te Akau and racing group Boys Get Paid, are set to join forces for the first time at Karaka this week.

The tangerine and blue silks of Te Akau have been a prominent feature at New Zealand’s richest race meeting, while the enthusiasm of Boys Get Paid members hasn’t been missed over the last few years.

While Boys Get Paid are notorious for their six figure punting purse on Karaka Million night, group founder Luke Kemeys is ready to make the same investment in the following days at Karaka.

Kemeys, who has experienced success with Te Akau in the past through the deeds of Combat Queen and Awareness, has entrusted Te Akau Principal David Ellis with selecting his group a yearling to purchase at this year’s New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales at Karaka.

"We’ve got a Supporters Membership in Boys Get Paid of about 350 people and David (Ellis) is going to buy a yearling at the sales for that membership group," Kemeys said. "The members will have first rights to shares in the horse, which will race in the Boys Get Paid colours and be trained by Jamie Richards at Matamata.

"It’s our first time buying a yearling from the sales and given our involvement at the Karaka Millions meetings over the past few years we imagine David will be trying to buy us a Karaka Millions prospect.

"The plan is to have David buy a horse to follow for the next year and beyond, as a group, and providing the interest is strong we may look to buy a couple of horses the following year at the sales and maybe introduce a wider group of owners."

Last year Boys Get Paid was involved in a joint venture of pinhooking a Savabeel weanling colt that went on to sell for $270,000 as a yearling at Karaka.

"That was our first ever involvement with the sales, as such, in terms of buying and selling, and documenting the process, so that was exciting for the 60 people that were involved in that project," Kemeys said.

"But we thought it was now time to come to the party and actually buy a horse to race and support the growth of the industry. "Everyone is working at keeping racing on the right track and this is our way of showing faith in what people are doing to foster racing. It’s certainly a continual work in progress, but it seems to be in a really positive vein at the moment and we want to try and do our bit in the scheme of improving the industry.

"Te Akau has been huge supporters of us in growing our impact at the Karaka Million meetings. We had 1000 people following Awareness and Combat Queen for free, that Te Akau paid for in order to give us the experience. It gave everyone a taste and for many it was their first horse involvement.

"Some of those people are now in the Supporters Membership and will be racing the yearling that David purchases for us over the coming week."

Kemeys said that he and 850 of the Boys Get Paid group will be in attendance on Saturday for the Karaka Million meeting at Ellerslie and he predicted they will have a betting pool of around $180,000. Fellow Boys Get Paid founder Ben Masters will also be looking forward to experiencing another first this week, sharing in the ownership of $3.40 DoubleTree By Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) favourite Millefiori.

Masters selected her barrier of five for Saturday’s feature and he said he is looking forward to watching her compete in the rich feature.

"I told everyone that I wanted barrier five, and got five, it was unbelievable," he said. "If she’s anywhere near 100 percent, I think she’s a real chance. Danielle (Johnson, jockey) can do the job. "It’s my first share in a horse, so I am pretty lucky. I’ve been around the (racing) traps for a couple of years and know how hard it is to get a horse to win a good race, or even a race. "To be in the race with a horse that has won two from two is huge, especially being involved with Boys Get Paid and having been there for the last four years and seen Melody Belle, Avantage, Probabeel, and Cool Aza Beel win for Te Akau, to share in a live chance is pretty crazy and pretty surreal."

Meanwhile, New Zealand All Whites international Jarrod Smith shares in the ownership of stablemate and race rival On The Bubbles. "This will be the first time I’ve seen him race live on track, which is exciting, and not to mention it being a million-dollar race," Smith said.

"Dad (Ian Smith) loves his racing and has been involved in a few horses over the years and my grandfather on my mother’s side was involved in a Derby winner and a Sydney Cup winner. "Mum and Dad will be there, and both my brothers and their partners, and friends will be coming along, so we should have a good crew to cheer him home. We want to take advantage and enjoy the occasion."

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