LAWRIE Fownes survived a nightmare flight to New Zealand to emerge as one of the leading buyers as Hong Kong connections abounded on the first day of the Wrightson Bloodstock sales at Karaka yesterday. Fownes, travelling with his wife Pam, had the fright of his life when his plane was sent plummeting several hundred feet after it was struck by a bolt of lightning. 'I've had some bad experiences on planes, but that was about the worst,' said Pam Fownes. But they were all smiles again yesterday as they bought three of the premier session's top lots. Fownes' five purchases totalled some $1.75 million as Hong Kong buyers provided the backbone to a strong first day. With Fownes and his son Casper putting in a last-minute call to Ernst & Young executive, John Crawford, agent Michael Steadman was able to fight off top Australian and New Zealand trainers for a son of Grosvenor, the sire of the Nigel Tiley-trained Derby winner, Look Who's Talking, for $750,000. Runaway championship leading trainer Patrick Biancone was a prolific buyer, but he concentrated his attention at the lower end of the market. He was particularly interested in the fillies and made the steal of the day when snapping up an athletic daughter of Australian Group Two winner, Clay Hero, for a mere $50,000.