[29 January/Radio New Zealand Business]

The Karaka yearling sales have seen some changes this year with the intention of encouraging international buyers to stay longer and spend more.  The sales are the biggest week of the year for the New Zealand bloodstock industry as buyers fly in from around the world to source New Zealand bred horses.  This year’s sale started on Sunday night with 100 horses being put under the hammer.  Over the course of the week, 1200 horses will be offered for sale with vendors hoping that sales exceed the record set 10 years ago when $111 million of bloodstock was traded.  Sales in 2017 amounted to $82 million and Head of NZ Bloodstock, Andrew Seabrook, said he hoped that the new format would see the week’s tally exceed this.  The opening session on Sunday saw 76 horses sold for $11.5 million.  In 2016/17 the New Zealand Bloodstock industry exported 1771 horses worth $138 million, with Australia being the largest market for the industry, with significant buyers also coming from Hong Kong, Singapore and China.