White Robe Lodge stallion Ancient Spirit was in the spotlight on the third and final day of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales, providing the top lot of the day when a filly out of the Zacinto mare Back Date fetched $160,000.

The combined total for the sale was $91 million, short of only the 2018 sale when it comes to aggregate.

The Book 2 filly was catalogued as Lot 1081 and was sold by Inglewood Stud to the combination of Ballymore Stables, Paul Moroney Bloodstock and Catheryne Bruggeman who have been prolific buyers throughout the week, with three Book 1 purchases and 10 Book 2 acquisitions.

A multiple Group Two winning son of Invincible Spirit, Ancient Spirit was the champion three-year-old miler in both Italy and Germany in 2018. From the two-time winning Galileo mare Assisi, Ancient Spirit was bred by famed German breeders Gestut Schlenderhan.

While Mike Moroney admitted he wasn’t overly familiar with the deeds of Ancient Spirit, he does train the filly’s half-brother Force Of Law, who was forward enough to compete in last weekend’s 1m TAB Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m) .

“Paul said to me if she was by I Am Invincible she’d make $700,000 because she’s a cracking sort and there’s a real I Am Invincible look about her,” Mike Moroney said.

“Being by a son of Invincible Spirit, she’s just one of those great walking fillies with big ears. She did everything we love.

“I went and had a look at her with an open mind when Paul said to me, he thought she was the pick of the fillies in K2. I hadn’t heard of the stallion at all, but once I saw the filly I thought, ‘yeah, he’s dead right’.

“She certainly looks like an I Am Invincible and a good type at that, so I suppose you’d say she’s a poor man’s I Am Invincible.

“We’ve always bought on type and when people ask about breeding - and this is a prime example - Paul saw just the good I Am Invincible fillies in this filly.

“She’s pretty laid back and has a really good temperament, but physically she’s a very strong filly and she just walked well at both ends, front and back, I thought.

“Paul said, ‘I don’t think you’ll be alone on her. He said, ‘I think she’s well liked and she’s been out a lot of times’.”

Lot 1081, a filly by Ancient Spirit
Lot 1081, a filly by Ancient Spirit out of Back Date. Photo: Trish Dunell

The filly is likely to stay in New Zealand under the watch of Moroney’s Matamata training partner Pam Gerard.

“Pam really loved her as well, so that puts a bit of pressure on me, so she’ll probably stay here for the bonus races,” Moroney said.

“We’ll give her the chance to start with. I’ll probably do that with one or two of the fillies that we’ve bought and earmarked for Australia. We’ll leave them here to give them their chance - the Proisir filly that we bought also looks early to me.

“We’ll put them through the motions and if they look like they’ll take more time, we’ll probably pull up stumps, give them a break and then get them to Australia. The New Zealand stake-money provides that opportunity.”

All horses purchased from Book 2 that are entered for the Karaka Millions Series are eligible for the $200,000 Book 2 Bonus, during the running of the 2026 $1.5m TAB Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m), rewarding connections of the first horse across the line bought from the second session.

Additionally there is a $200,000 New Owners Bonus which will be won by the first horse across the finish line in the $1m TAB Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m) that has 50 percent or more of the ownership being held by first-time owners.

Inglewood Stud’s Gus Wigley said it was a great result and a continuation of a positive week for the North Canterbury nursery, which bred last Saturday’s Karaka Millions 2YO heroine Velocious before strong results across Books 1 and 2 at Karaka.

“Mike obviously trains the half-brother Force Of Law, who ran in the Karaka Millions and we’re rapt and we’re also rapt for the guys down at White Robe who stand Ancient Spirit,” Wigley said.

“They are good friends and they have a nice horse down there, so it is a good result all around.”

Wigley said the filly hails from a family with special significance.

“When my grandmother passed away, a long time ago now, she left all of the grand kids $10,000 each. She wanted me to put it into a mare, so I bought my first mare, and that was the grandmother of this filly,” he said.

“It took a while to get a return on my investment but the granddaughter has been very good for us and the mother of this filly is by our (late) stallion Zacinto. She has been a good producer so far and that was a great result.”

Inglewood also sold a colt and filly by their resident sire War Decree for $100,000 and $35,000 respectively in their Book 2 draft, after a strong Book 1 sale where they sold yearlings up to $300,000 headed by the Dundeel half-sister to Velocious.

“It has been a fantastic sale overall for us. We had a very good Book 1 Sale and to back it up with a great Book 2 Sale and get three really good results that we were happy with from the three horses we put through, it has been terrific and New Zealand Bloodstock has done a very good job,” Wigley said.

“The first Tuesday of parading was our busiest day of parading we have ever had, so it has been a fantastic couple of weeks but I am exhausted now and looking forward to getting home.”