Interest in The NZB Kiwi heats up ahead of slot auction

By Cameron Rodger - GM – Entain Australia & NZ

21 Feb 2024

Interest in The NZB Kiwi heats up ahead of slot auctionGo Racing’s Karaka Millions 2YO winner Velocious

When The NZB Kiwi was announced on 22 January as the headline attraction of a revamped summer calendar for 2025, the excitement about the Southern Hemisphere’s richest three-year-old race was palpable.
And now, less than a week out from the slot auction at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Karaka Sales Centre next Tuesday (27 February), we’re seeing that anticipation turn into a truly amazing level of interest from across New Zealand, Australia and beyond.
Nine slots go under the hammer on Tuesday evening, and while we expected some hot competition, to have more than 40 registered bidders lined up in advance is outstanding, with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing expecting more to be confirmed before the auction.
Without giving too much away about who might be raising their paddle (or even just lifting an eyebrow) come next Tuesday night, we’re genuinely thrilled to have names from not just within New Zealand racing, but from overseas, and from outside traditional racing interests.
Notable names such as Ozzie Kheir and Chris Waller have already hinted they’ll be gunning for a spot next week, while others will appear out of the woodwork closer to the time, all adding to the intrigue of the initial auction to hold a three-year slot.
There’s still time to register as a bidder and participate in the auction to acquire a slot in The NZB Kiwi. The auction will be held live, however online bidding facilities will also be made available.
To register for The NZB Kiwi slot auction, or to find out more information, visit
If you can’t be there on the night but want to see how the slot auction unfolds, and also who fares best in the Trackside NZ Derby barrier draw just prior to the auction, you can tune in to Trackside 1 from 7 pm on Tuesday to watch it all play out.
Continuing the Karaka theme, with the New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred sales underway this week, the TAB Racing Club was on site at both the Karaka sales complex and the Canterbury Agricultural Park in Christchurch to find some standardbred yearlings to add to the new stable of runners for the TAB Racing Club.
Among those secured at the Christchurch sale were two bay colts with breeding on their side. A Captain Crunch colt out of former champion juvenile mare One Dream was knocked down to the Club for $42,000. One Dream has already left five winners, including Gr. 1 Cardigan Bay Stakes winner Montana DJ, and Captain Crunch’s first crop are making a real splash at the first two-year-old trials underway in New Zealand.
The Club also acquired an Always B Miki colt out of Christian Cullen mare Idancedwithcullen for $50,000. Idancedwithcullen has already left Franco Indie, who won the Gr. 1 Sires Stakes 2YO Final, while the second dam Idancedallnight – a track star in her own right - has left progeny that have performed on both sides of the Tasman.
While the TAB Racing Club will launch officially later this year, there has certainly been plenty of interest already, especially after our purchases at the Karaka 2024 thoroughbred yearling sales late last month.
As I have mentioned previously, we are committed to having stables and training partners right across the country. Alongside the horses we purchased with northern trainers at the sales, we have been speaking with several stables and training partners in the central and southern regions.
You can find out more about the Club, together with a central information portal outlining our purchases at
The focus of this column may have been the younger horses, but it was the turn of a six-year-old pacer to be in the spotlight last week when Better Eclipse was confirmed as our runner for the $1m The Race By Grins at Cambridge on 12 April.
One thing is for certain about Better Eclipse – he'll give his all in the race, and he’s genuinely proven at the top level, with a terrific track record.
The Jess Tubbs-trained pacer will have taken plenty from his fourth placing in last year’s race, and his two subsequent placings in the Group One autumn features at Alexandra Park.
He’s a familiar name to punters across Australian and New Zealand, which is really important as we look to increase engagement from across the Tasman in our New Zealand features.
With The Race By Grins and the TAB Trot heading the “Night of Champions” at Cambridge Raceway, that Friday night is looking like producing two of the best open-class standardbred races in Australasia in recent memory.