Gai Waterhouse bought two of the top three lots through the first day of the Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast, AustraliaPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
A$2m Encosta colt tops Magic Millions day one
AUSTRALIA's first major yearling sale of the year looked to have got off to a reasonable start on the Gold Coast yesterday, though for David Chester, managing director of the Magic Millions, the opening session of the sale was barely passable.
Many at the sale felt the day was a positive one as the predicted pre-sales figures had been expected to be down substantially on the previous year and the day's concluding A$148,000 (€78,545 / £70,8455) average was on a par with the same session in 2008. Chester, however, felt that the disappointing clearance rate of 75 per cent (82 per cent in 2008) and a top-priced lot that was almost double the next best as a truer indicator of the strength of the sale.
For Chester, the A$2m (€1,056,000/ £958, 820) Encosta De Lago colt bought by Sydney's champion trainer Gai Waterhouse for Magic Millions principal John Singleton was a welcome result but could lead to distortion of the figures.
"Those (average) figures are distorted by the $2million horse and the other two which made a million dollars," he said. "We've probably only got a couple of others that will make the million over the next few days but the average will go down tomorrow and continue to fall.
"There was some great buying today and this is the first sale in 12 years that has been in the buyers' favour."
Chester rated the opening session a "six-out-of-10". "From a vendor's point of view I would be disappointed," he said, "but from abuyer's point of view I would be over the moon. There were quite a few horses whom I thought would make more money. Vendors early on were very realistic, but I think the sale started too well so up the reserves went and they had to re-adjust through the day."
The sale-topping Encosta de Lago colt, consigned by Coolmore, is a brother to the champion and five-time Group 1 winner Racing To Win. His price falls short of the record amount of A$2.2m paid twice by Nathan Tinkler for twosons of Redoute's Choice at last year's sale, though in the corresponding session in 2008 no lot broke the A$1 million barrier.
Coolmore Australia's general manager Michael Kirwan confirmed after the sale that the organisation would retain shares in the colt. The colt's dam Surrealist was bought by Coolmore at the Magic Millions National Sale in 2006 for A$1.6m.
Of her purchase Waterhouse was typically effusive saying: "His brother is a champion and he has thepedigree of a stallion. I thought there were three outstanding colts in the sale and I'm glad I've been able to get two of them."
Waterhouse gave A$1 million for the Redoute's Choice colt out of Strawberry Girl, dam of the Group 2 winner and sire Danroad who reverse shuttled to Hedgeholme Stud in the UK.
"He's by a champion sire and is out of a champion mare," said Waterhouse of the Strawberry Hill Stud offering. "The mare has already produced a stallion and the colt looks great value at $1 million - I reckon he would have made $2 million last year. He's a very, very exciting colt."
The other colt to make seven figures was also by Redoute's Choice and Adrian Nicoll of BBA Ireland went to A$1.1 million, giving the second top price of the session, for Yarraman Park's colt out of Listed winner Twist My Hear, a daughter of Group 1 winner Wrap Around.
Among the other international buyers at the sale were Japan's Teruya Yoshida who paid $700,000 for a Redoute's Choice filly from Unearthly consigned by Coolmore.
It was the first time Yoshida's Shadai Farm has purchased a yearling filly in Australia and the first time her buyer had attended a sale in the country.