As the National Yearling Sales approach each year, they are one thing that rival the excitement of winning races for Cran Dalgety.

In the months of January and February each year the Kentuckiana Lodge trainer can be seen with a book tucked under his arm, for very good reason.

It’s not a best-selling novel and it’s not the bible, though to some it might as well be.

It’s the NZB Standardbred National Yearling Sales Catalogue, which even as far as a month out from the Karaka and Christchurch sales is lined with pages of scribble.

Those words might look like chicken scratch to some, but they are actually detailed notes from one of the best in the yearling selecting business in New Zealand harness racing.

Cran has bought dozens of star horses and Group race performers from the national sales and he can’t wait to secure more in 2022.

“It is a different kind of thrill to winning a race, but it is certainly a buzz when the horse you want gets knocked down to you.”

“We have certainly been fortunate over the years in that we have identified the horses we have wanted to buy and been lucky enough to take most of them home with us.”

“Hopefully it can be the case again this year.”

“We won’t be leaving any stone unturned, that’s for sure.”

Cran puts many hours into studying the sales catalogue before he then goes on the three yearling tours around New Zealand - in Auckland, Canterbury and Southland.

That close inspection helps him narrow his focus.

“We scan the pedigree pages and identify the families we want to be buying.”

“We target the group races, so we are looking for those families that are consistently leaving top level horses.”

“Obviously seeing the animal in the flesh is the next step.”

“There are yearlings out there that don’t match up to their pedigree with their.”

“But there are the ones that do."

"When they tick both boxes, those are the ones we hone in on.”

When it comes to assessing a yearling’s physical attributes, like many trainers Cran has his own list of preferences.

“Constitution is very important, in terms of a horse’s nutritional background."

“A yearling needs to present like it has had every opportunity in the world.”

“We are asking these animals to do some powerful things and they need to be able to stand up to them.

“Obviously we are looking for a correct confirmation and a very athletic frame.”

”Temperament is also something we need to take into account.”

Cran heads to the North Island Yearling Sales Tour this week get an up close look at the horses he is keen on on paper.

The trainer welcomes inquiries from anyone who would like him to inspect a yearling on his behalf.

Cran will be doing many private inspections as well as going on the Canterbury and Southland yearling sales tours.

Kentuckiana Lodge welcomes all owners who want to join Cran and Chrissie Dalgety in racing a horse that will be aimed at Australasia’s best races.

For more information you can email or call Cran (027-436-0667) or Chrissie (027-278-9466).

Champion Kentuckiana Lodge three-year-old Krug as a yearling in 2019