Churchill X Astrid yearling filly conformation shot

$200,000 Churchill Filly Tops Opening Session of Karaka Book 2

Cambridge trainer Roger James has experienced a frustrating last few days at Karaka during the Book 1 sale, so he was delighted to get the filly he wanted in the Book 2 session of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale on Wednesday.

Co-trainer Robert Wellwood had identified a filly from the first crop of Galileo’s Champion son Churchill being offered by Berkley Stud and James was duly impressed with the filly from Astrid upon inspecting the filly himself.

“She is a star filly,” he said after going to a session topping $200,000 for the filly. “I haven’t got an owner for her yet, but that is the next job, trying to find one.

“She has got everything. She is by a great racehorse and she has got the potential to be a Karaka Million horse.

“I only saw her this morning. Robert stayed up last night and he did the short list.

“I didn’t think I would have to pay that money for her, but I had the bit between my teeth and fillies like that are quite rare.”

The filly was the only yearling in the Book 2 session by her sire and James said he was one of the reasons he was drawn to her.

“I followed his (Churchill) whole career,” James said. “He was a very fast horse for a Galileo. People normally associate Galileos with a bit of time, but he was a great two and three-year-old and he held a world ranking at some stage.

“They don’t get that without being pretty special.”

The filly is the first foal of five time winning Pins mare Astrid, a half-sister to stakes-winner Astronomia, that was bought by Berkley Stud’s Edwina Morris and Alan Jones for $50,000 at the Inglis Great Southern Sale in 2019 when in foal to Churchill.

“The mare was one of two we bought in Melbourne,” they said.

“She was in foal to Churchill and we liked his chances too, being a fast son of Galileo.”

The filly was so popular at the Karaka sales complex. Jones and Morris thought they may be able recoup their initial outlay for the mare and have done so in spades!

“There was huge interest in the filly,” they said. “She is going to be bigger than her mother. Her x-rays and scope were excellent.

“We thought she'd make $50,000 to $60,000. She has gone to a great stable, so we are delighted.”

Churchill also had good results in Book 1 at Karaka with four yearlings averaging $107,500 with his best result the colt from Diamond Earth that made $160,000 for Cambridge Stud when bought by Glen Harvey Racing.