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Fairytale result for novice breeders

Trainer Robert Wellwood (left) with Paora and Russell Packer, vendors of lot 1063.
Photo: Trish Dunell

A former rugby league star was part of a fairytale result on the final day of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale at Karaka on Saturday.


When the dust had settled on three days of selling in the Book 2 Sale, Lot 1063 a Tivaci filly out of the Pins mare Short Tale sat atop the results when she fetched a final bid of $250,000 from trainer Robert Wellwood who was working with Bloodstock agents Bevan Smith and Andy Williams.


Consigned through the boutique draft of David and Anne Goldsbury under their Beckam Equine banner, the quality filly was owned by first-time breeders and sellers Paora Packer and his brother, former New Zealand Warriors rugby league star, Russell.


The Packer brothers had dipped their toes in the breeding pool when they purchased Short Tale, in foal to Tivaci, off gavelhouse.com for a mere $1300.


The resulting filly made her appearance in the Karaka auction ring on Saturday and provided the Packer boys with a story that takes a lot of beating.


Paora, who operates his own pre-training and breaking stable in Levin, caught the thoroughbred racing and breeding bug about three years ago and explained how he got involved with the Goldsburys.


“I met the Goldsburys when we did one of their Ready To Runners who was having a few problems and I like the way they operate and look after their horses,” he said.


“I have been in racing for three years. I grew up with Chris Rauhihi (trainer) and he introduced me to racing.


“I have gone my way and done what I have wanted to do and he has been doing well and has got a runner in the Auckland Cup tomorrow.


“I put my business brain on and thought if we could get here (Karaka) and sell one it is a lot easier than what we were doing so I looked around and went on gavelhouse.com


“Russell was still playing footy. We bought the mare off Paul Moroney on the site for $1300 and we went thirds (Russell and I) with another partner, but he dropped out and we just carried on.


“It is our first time to the sales. It is a costly exercise, but when you get results like that it is all worth it.


“It has been a great start. I am wise to know there are a lot of highs and lows. You ride the highs and deal with the lows as they come along.


“I have been in it for three years and I have fallen in love with horses. My partner, Danielle Hirini, is a jockey so she keeps me in line.


“To finish on a note like that was great, the Viaduct will be pumping tonight that’s for sure.”

Lot 1063, the Tivaci filly, was purchased out of Beckam Equine’s Book 2 draft for $250,000.
Photo: Trish Dunell


Russell Packer was finding it hard to contain his excitement but was quick to praise the Goldsburys for what they had achieved in preparing the filly for the sale.


“David and Anne do a great job and I just can’t speak highly enough of what they have done for us,” he said.


“I was still playing rugby league at the time Paora bought the mare and he asked if I wanted to buy a horse, and I said, ‘why not?’


“And now we have sold a horse for a quarter of a million dollars and we still own the Mum.


“With this guy (Paora) on the ground doing what he loves doing, I am sure we will have a few more wins in the horse game.”


Paora advised that Short Tale had missed getting in foal to Cambridge Stud stallion Embellish last season and they would start to look around later in the year for her next match, with Tivaci being high on the list of potential suitors.


Anne Goldsbury was still taking in the aftermath of the excitement as she explained what a sale of this magnitude means to her and her husband.


“We are so excited for the boys,” she said.


“It is an amazing story, buying the mare for $1300 and getting such a beautiful filly.


“I think we originally thought she might go for between $60,000 and $100,000, which would have still been an amazing result, but after she had been here for a few days David said she might go over $150,000.


“She was just outstanding and so many good judges had seen her and she had been wonderful for them each time she stepped out of the box.


“We had had her from the 1st of October and every week she just blossomed.


“We generally only have one or two for this sale and not every year, so this has been just amazing for us.


“We sold a colt a couple of years ago for $180,000, but this certainly tops that.


“I think we are just so excited for the boys and hopefully people appreciated how she was presented and that it might lead to greater opportunities for us.”


One of those who definitely appreciated the work that had gone into the filly was purchaser Robert Wellwood, who along with his training partner Roger James, had been in action on every day of the six-day sale.


“She is a stunning filly and had she been in the Book 1 sale she would have made our top ten list of fillies in that sale,” Wellwood said.


“That was how much we thought of her and it is incredible how many good judges have already messaged us to congratulate us on the buy.


“She passed every criteria with flying colours and hopefully she can do the job on the track now.


“I think at this stage she is already sixty percent syndicated and I believe the Packer brothers are going to stay in for a share as well.


“Anyone who wants a share in her had better get in quick.” – NZ Racing Desk