The Group 2 New Zealand Bloodstock Concorde Handicap (1200m) on Saturday saw a very even contest with the Ben Foote trained Ego taking the prize.

With a number of runners holding nominations for the Group 1 Railway Stakes on New Year's Day, punters were watching closely for clues towards the first Group 1 sprint of the season.

On Saturday it was five-year-old Ego (E Dubai x Buckling, by Redoute's Choice) who put in a strong front-running performance in the hands of Paul Taylor to win the Group 2 feature.

First run in 1976, the race was initially sponsored by British Airways and run at the Avondale racecourse, this year marking the first time the race has been run at its new home at Ellerslie.

Ego is trained by former jumps rider Ben Foote at Nahkle's training complex Byerley Park in South Auckland. Bred by Monty and Judy Henderson he was bought by Daniel Nakhle from Bluegables Farm from the 2007 Select Sale for $62,000. The son of E Dubai has made 16 race day appearances for five wins and one placing for over $105,000 dollars in stakes earnings, with three of his victories coming between 1100 and 1299 metres. He is also a two-time winner at Ellerslie, enhancing his chances in the Group 1 sprint.

Lucky to be alive, Ego has been plagued with health problems including a bout of colic which required surgery earlier in his career, giving owners Daniel and Elias Nahkle even more reason to be pleased to see their colt hit winning form.

The light-weight runner Amaryllis (Red Ransom x Lafleur) put in an eye-catching run for second place, flying out of the pack late to run Ego to a long neck. Trained by Steven Ramsay and Julia Ritchie and ridden by Cameron Lammas, the five-year-old mare has shown she can match it with the best and will be one to watch in her next start.

The Group 1 Telegraph Handicap winner Vonusti (Ustinov x Reasonably) was another to put in a good performance. Spotting the leaders around 10 lengths at the point of the turn, he came down the very outside and flew the last 100 metres to take third. Despite Vonusti not recording a win this preparation, he has shown some promise in his three runs since the Mudgway Stakes. He remains solid in the market for the Railway Stakes at $9.

Ego has a half-sister at Lot 733, a filly by No Excuse Needed offered by Bluegables Farm in the 2011 Karaka Select Sale. Vonusti also has a sibling, Lot 9, a filly by promising young sire Perfectly Ready who will be offered by Brighthill Farm.

New Zealand Bloodstock graduates also performed well in Asia over the weekend with winners in Singapore and Hong Kong. Elusive City continues to impress in Asia with another strong win by his son Crown Witness following his stellar weekend last week which saw him notch up three wins.







NZB Sale Details

Crown Witness

Elusive City x Woodminco

Hong Kong Middle Hcp (C4), 1400m

Grande Vue Lodge Syndicate

v.Grande Vue Lodge. MR P PAYNE.09 Select P. $30,000

Happy Reunion

Dubai Destination x Admiral's Lass

HKJC Salisbury Hcp, 1200m

Falconhurst Stud

v. Timberlee Thoroughbreds. YIU POON FAI RICKY. 07 Ready to Run P. $125,000

Stitch In Time

Pins x Mercury Island

Singapore Class 5, 1200m

Bloomsbury Stud

v. Bloomsbury Stud NZ. MANLEY LODGE LTD. Bloomsbury Stud Dispersal P. $100,000

Powerful Tree

St. Petersburg x Centenaire

Singapore Kranji Stakes, 1100m

Grande Vue Lodge Syndicate

v. Grande Vue Lodge. NEW ZEALAND BLOODSTOCK LTD. 08 Festival P. $25,000

Daring Splendour

Bertolini x  Hoot N' Holler

Singapore Class 4, 1700m

Glazeley Farms Trust

v. Ellendene Farms. MR KAH WUI LIM. 08 Festival P. $30,000

Simply the Best

Stratum x Career Start

Singapore Class 3, 1200m

Goodwood Stud Ltd

v. Phoenix Park. MR MH WEE. 09 Ready to Run P. $210,000

Daring Shani

Kashani x Amaretti

Singapore Class 4, 1000m

J M & Mrs P H Clydesdale

v. Kilgravin Lodge. MR KAH WUI LIM. 07 Ready to Run P. $27,000

New Power

My Halo x Zingla

Selangor Ma Cai Stakes, 1400

Mrs A A & R A Peard

v. Golden Elm Grange. MR GC MEE. Sth Island Sale of 2YO and mixed Bloodstock P. $10,000