Long Leaf Draws Out In Karaka 3yo Classic

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Dual Australian stakes winner Long Leaf has drawn barrier 11 in the $NZ1 million Karaka Million 3YO Classic at Ellerslie in Auckland.

Trained by Lindsay Park, Long Leaf will be ridden by Sydney-based New Zealander James McDonald who will be aboard Aotea Lad in the other million-dollar race on Saturday’s program, the Karaka Million 2YO.

Senior Lindsay Park trainer David Hayes was on hand at the Karaka sales complex for Wednesday’s barrier draw.

“He has won two stakes races in Australia and started one of the favourites in the (Group One) Blue Diamond,” Hayes told NZ Racing Desk.

“We nearly brought him over for the Karaka Million 2YO last year, but he has been set for this race since the Sandown Guineas, where he was placed.

“The build-up has been uneventful. He has done everything right, so I will be very disappointed if he doesn’t run a good race.

“I think we have got a cracking race though. There are some outstanding opposition, so he will have to be on his best to get there.”

Long Leaf is part-owned by Sir Peter Vela, the boss of NZ Bloodstock which runs the Karaka sale.

Sydney jockeys Tommy Berry and Winona Costin will join McDonald at the meeting.

Berry will ride Appellant from barrier nine in the two-year-old race and Queen of Diamonds from barrier 10 in the 3YO Classic.

Costin will be on Beauty Diva who has barrier six in the 2YO, a race Queensland trainer Liam Birchley is trying to win for a third time.

The Birchley-trained Neptune’s Spear has barrier 11 and will be ridden by Jonathan Parkes.

Birchley won the race with Sister Havana in 2010 and Hardline in 2015 and ran second with Sarge In Charge in 2009.

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