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Magic Millions Sale under starter's orders

NOT even the outbreak of equine influenza, which brought the Australian breeding industry to a standstill, could prevent last year's Magic Millions Conrad Jupiters Yearling Sale on Australia's Gold Coast from producing a record top price, but it will do well to escape the current economic downturn this time around.

The select portion of the sale, which has produced six of the past nine winners of the Golden Slipper Stakes, starts its four-day run on Wednesday. Another select session will be held on Sunday and a further two sessions next week, starting on Thursday 15.

With every major northern hemisphere sale posting significant declines this winter, it could be too much to expect the sale to post figures on a par with last year's renewal. However, it is worth remembering that the New Zealand Ready To Run Sale in November bucked the global trend, recording an average just one per cent below 2007's figure.

A pair of colts by Redoute's Choice, including a three-parts brother to Golden Slipper winner Dance Hero who was pinhooked for A$1.15m as a foal, topped last year's renewal when selling for A$2.2m apiece. The price surpassed the former record of A$2m, which had been set the previous year by a son of Sadler's Wells.

Their sales helped to push the select aggregate past the A$100m mark and the average to A$157,321 (£76,673/€81,986). The select portion also recorded an exceptional clearance rate of 82 per cent with 754 yearlings of 900 yearlings to pass through the ring sold.

Last year's sale, which was put back to March following the flu outbreak, also benefited hugely from the support of new player Nathan Tinkler, whose Patinack Farm purchased 59 lots for a total of A$19,005,000 - over six times the amount spent by the second leading buyer, Laird Racing.

European-based buyers were also in evidence, none more so than Badgers Bloodstock, who spent A$2,060,000 on nine yearlings, and BBA Ireland, who purchased three lots for A$1,470,000.

This year's catalogue of 1,327 lots features yearlings by all of the leading southern hemisphere sires including Encosta De Lago, the most heavily represented stallion with 39 lots, General Nediym (37), Jet Spur (36), Stratum (33), Fastnet Rock (31), Hussonet (29) and Redoute's Choice (26).

Heading the shuttlers is More Than Ready with 35 yearlings and Rock Of Gibraltar with 26. European heavyweights such as Anabaa, Cape Cross, Danehill Dancer, Exceed And Excel, Galileo and Red Ransom also have yearlings entered as do the US-based stallions Elusive Quality and Street Cry.

Among the 26 lots by Redoute's Choice are four yearlings out of Group 1 winners including lot 473, a colt out of the 1999 Irish One Thousand Guineas heroine Hula Angel. The colt, who is consigned by Eliza Park Stud, is also from the family of Kentucky Derby winner Spend A Buck.


Read more in Tuesday's Racing Post




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