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Russell hands credit to foreign buyers as Keeneland concludes

Keeneland November comparative figures ($)

 Year  Sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2009  2,779  159,727,800  57,477  20,000
 2008  3,017  185,552,300  61,462  20,000

THE Overbrook dispersal and strong international participation were identified as the main components to a solid renewal of the Keeneland November Sale by the auction company's director of sales, Geoffrey Russell.

Although the marathon breeding stock sale came to a close on Sunday with declines in aggregate and average, Russell noted that the Overbrook dispersal had played a significant role in placing confidence back into the US market.

He said: "Entering the 2009 sales season, the forecast was uncertainand market confidence had waned. Overbrook deserves credit for putting confidence back in the market.

"The Overbrook dispersal selling without reserve provided a base from which the market could appraise. As a result, there was strong trade and hope that the market has now moved beyond its low point."

The 13-day auction saw 2,779 horses change hands for a total of $159,727,800, a reduction of 14 per cent from last year's sale which was held over 15 days. The average fell six per cent to $57,477.

However, the median remained unchanged at $20,000 while the clearance rate rose minimally to 78.5 per cent.

Five horses broke the seven figure barrier compared to 19 a year ago.

The 148-strong Overbrook dispersal - which, including the yearlings that sold in September, ranks as the second-largest in Keeneland history - accounted for 20 per cent of the entire aggregate, including seven of the sale's top ten lots.

Russell added: "The thoroughbred market is best described as resilient. The strong clearance rate reflects the fact that horsemen are adjusting to the new reality. Consignors did a good job of appraising their horses. Throughout the industry, changes are taking place - a reduced number of mares bred, reduced stallion fees, and other measures that
will insure a return to market profitability in the near future."

Russell alsonoted that international activity increased by nearly ten per cent. Buyers from 33 different countries walked away with purchases during the sale to account for more than one-third of the entire aggregate.

"It was a very cosmopolitan group," said Russell. "Going into the sale we concentrated on the international market because we thought the lack of capital would limit American buyers. But domestic buyers made their presence known, and that is another positive sign for the industry."

French-based Wertheimer et Frere accounted for the top lot, Honest Pursuit, who was sold out of the Overbrook dispersal for $3.1m.

The top-priced weanlingwas a Bernardini half-sister to champion Surfside, also from Overbrook, who sold for $440,000 to Hubert Guy.

Leading consignors ($)

 Name  No. sold  Total
 Eaton Sales  249  38,940,500
 Taylor Made Sales Agency  238  13,304,900
 Lane's End  162  9,497,500

Leading buyers ($)

 Name  No. bought  Total
 Edward Evans  5  3,565,000
 Katsumi Yoshida  3  3,230,000
 Wertheimer et Frere  1  3,200,000

The final session on Sundaywas all about the stallion Kitalpha, a brother to Kingmambo who was imported from South Africa to stand at War Horse Place in Kentucky last season.

The son of Mr Prospector was responsible for the day's top two lots led by a colt who was knocked down to Lisa Lex for $100,000. The youngster is a half-brother to Twin Sparks, who established a world record for 6f at Turf Paradise on Saturday.

Sunday's session saw Keeneland sell 131 horses for a total $803,600, which represented a massive drop of 64.41 per cent from a year ago. The average decresed 34 per cent to $6,134 while the median crashed48.5 per cent to $2,700.




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