Tauranga horse trainer nearly wins Karaka million

Jim Pender almost cracked the Karaka Million race with his horse Real Beel. Photo Trish Dunell

Tauranga horse trainer, Jim Pender, nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets in New Zealand big race history.

His horse the Real Beel, finished second in the Karaka Million 3 year old classic, the last race on the programme at Ellerslie.

The Real Beel started as the rank outsider in the 18 horse field.

From a wide gate, jockey Samantha Collett settled her at the back of the field, and at the 1000 meters, she was four lengths last.

 Collett started her run around the field, five wide at the 800-meter mark and hit the lead coming into the straight.

It came down to a two horse race between the Real Beel and the eventual winner Long Leaf, ridden by top Australian based jockey James Mcdonald.

Long Leaf a colt has done all its racing in Australia, and won by a neck with the race favourite Madison County three-quarters of a length back in third.

But for trainer Jim Pender it was a dream come true and with it the $150,000 prize purse for second.

Pender says he couldn’t have been more proud of the horse and the way it was ridden.

“It was one of the highlights of my career,” says Penders.

 “It’s a great result for smaller trainers up against the big stables.”

 To qualify for the million dollar race, all horses had to be bought at the Karaka Yearling Sales.

The Real Beel is the daughter of top sire Savabeel, purchased as a yearling for $110,000 whilst the winner is the son of Fastneck Rock and was sold for $750,000.

Pender will decide on what’ next for the Real Beel, after a well deserved rest in the paddock.

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