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Barretts trade is in line with other US breeze-ups

RESULTS from the Barretts March Sale of selected two-year-olds in training mirrored those at the two earlier US breeze-up sales this winter held in Florida, with aggregate and median figures falling by nearly 30 per cent, and a larger drop in aggregate due to a smaller number of horses sold.

The preliminary suggestion from these results is that the US breeze-ups have found their 'new-economy' level. While not entirely comfortable for consignors - both because it entails lower prices and a higher number of withdrawals and buybacks - it has encouraged some buyers, because they are finding more affordablehorses. And it is allowing pinhookers to continue to make a living, although with perhaps more sweat and clearly lower pay-offs.

This is the new reality: Barretts reported 51 horses sold, from a catalogue of 124, meaning 41 per cent of the catalogued lots found new homes. It is a dicey way to make a living, but the industry has lately had to become used to the idea that less than 50 per cent of a catalogue is likely to be sold at any given sale. Officially, the clearance rate of 62 per cent (of horses offered through the ring) was a solid improvement on last year's figure of 56 per cent.

There was some good news for pinhookers, too, although the clearance rate for pinhooked lots was slightly lower than the rate forthe whole sale. Of the 45 pinhooks sent through the ring, 26 were sold, for a clearance rate of 58 per cent. The 'unofficial' clearance rate (of 70 catalogued pinhooks to the 26 lots actually sold) was similar to the overall rate of catalogued lots to lots sold - 40 per cent.

The good news was a high rate of profitability for those horses that were sold. A full 22 of the 26 pinhooked lots who were sold - 85 per cent -  appear to have been profitable. These included high-priced yearlings, such as the sale-topper, a Tiznow colt out of Hurricane Judy, bought by Edmonton, a partnership, for $200,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale and resold to Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables for $650,000.

But significantly, it also included lower-priced yearlings, including a Stormy Atlantic colt bought as a $1,500 OBS August yearling and resold for $40,000; a filly by In Excess purchased for $5,000 at the Barretts October Sale and resold for $50,000; and a Tapit filly who was a $7,000 Keeneland September yearling and was resold for $65,000 to celebrity chef Bobby Flay.

Equally spectacularly, a $19,000 colt from the first crop of Castledale was resold for $150,000, a $20,000 Songandaprayer yearling colt brought $120,000, and a Distant View filly who was a $55,000 yearling purchase was resold for $210,000.

Vendors were encouraged to see participation from both Darley and Coolmore. Sheikh Mohammed's US representative Jimmy Bell was the underbidder on the top lot - sold by Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables, also vendor of the $1.6m top lot, bought by Sheikh Mohammed, at the Calder Sale in Miami last week - while Demi O'Byrne signed the ticket for the sale's second highest-pricedlot, a $540,000 filly by Tapit out of Cross Your Heart, sold by Jerry Bailey Sales Agency. The filly had been bought back for $65,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Sale, and subsequently privately purchased.





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