The slot auction for the NZB Kiwi, the NZ$3.5 million race which will have its inaugural running in 2025, has seen nine slots sell for a combined NZ$6.225 million.

The new race for 3-year-olds over 1500m was announced last month and was made possible by the investment Entain have made through the New Zealand TAB over the past 12 months.

There are 14 slots for the race, which will be the richest for three-year-olds in the Southern Hemisphere, and nine of those slots, which last for three years and had a reserve of $450,000, were up for auction at the iconic Karaka sales ring near Auckland on Tuesday.

Singapore investor John Chew was the first successful bidder, going to $725,000 for slot one before locally based Clotworthy Racing paid $675,000 for slot two.

Wexford Stables, the partnership of Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott, paid $700,000 for slot three and local breeder and owner Daniel Nakhle secured slot four for $675,000.

Te Akau Racing was expected to be involved and it took up slot five for $675,000 before Australian owner Ozzie Kheir paid $700,000 for slot six. Entain New Zealand signed for slot seven at $700,000 and then Forsman Racing paid $675,000 for slot eight.

Brendan and Jo Lindsay of Cambridge stud left their run late but scooped up the final slot on offer for $700,000.

“We were relaxed about it,” Jo Lindsay said. “We knew what we were going to pay but we just had to wait for that last one.”

“I think it’s just a fabulous idea,” Brendan Lindsay added. “It’s $3.5 million in prize-money plus a $1 million bonus, New Zealand has never seen anything like this before.”

“Jo and I had to be part of it, and we were always going to buy lot nine.”

“It’s $3.5 million in prize-money plus a $1 million bonus, New Zealand has never seen anything like this before.”

The Lindsays said they already had a two-year-old earmarked on the farm for the race in 13 months’ time but wouldn’t reveal who it was.

NZTR CEO Bruce Sharrock described the result of the auction as ‘beyond expectation’.

“It’s just fantastic for the industry. The excitement around this event has been realised and from a dollar value it is going to help us market the race the way it should be marketed,” he said.

“I think what we saw tonight is everybody played. We had syndicates put together to get one, there were a couple of really key contributors for the industry that got one, it was fantastic.”

The remaining slots for the race will be made available on a first right of refusal basis to New Zealand racing clubs that will host bonus races. These include Auckland Thoroughbred Racing, Waikato Thoroughbred Racing, RACE and Canterbury Jockey Club. NZTR will retain at least one slot for sale and/or promotional use at a later date.

To be eligible for the race, horses either have to be New Zealand-bred or have been sold through a New Zealand Bloodstock Sale.

The 2026 race will be worth $4 million, before increasing to $4.5 million in 2027.