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Stellar evening for Hallmark
26 Jan 2015Hallmark Stud’s National Yearling Sales series spirits soared at Ellerslie last night when Hardline was an emphatic winner of the country’s richest race.

On the eve of NZB’s auction, the farm graduate came from well back in the field to claim top honours in the Listed Karaka Million to continue a Queenslander’s love affair with the event.

Hardline was a $130,000 purchase out of the Te Kauwhata farm’s Karaka draft 12 months ago by long-time Hallmark friend Liam Birchley.

The Eagle Farm trainer doubled his winning Million account with Hardline following his previous success in the Ellerslie feature with Sister Havana.

“I’m very, very happy and this is close to my biggest moment in racing,” he said. “I’ve had 40 owners come over for this.”

A son of Showcasing and the Housebuster mare Midnight Breaker, Hardline was ridden by expatriate Kiwi jockey Damian Browne.

“I said to him to go out and ride him how you think and I was a bit worried when he got so far back, but Damian’s the best,” Birchley said.

Browne was able to weave a path between runners in the straight and brought Hardline with a perfectly-timed run three off the fence.

“It shows what a great trainer Liam Birchley is,” Browne said. “I got a bit further back than I wanted, but there was a bit of carnage in front of me and I missed that and he got home strongly.”

PHOTO BY TRISH DUNELL