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Average and median prices rose at the 2012 Keeneland September Sale


Median surges 50 
per cent at Keeneland 

INTERNATIONAL participation and strong demand for quality yearlings have been hailed as the driving forces behind a strong renewal of the Keeneland September Sale in Kentucky.

Despite operating without a volume of activity from several recent leading buyers, such as John Ferguson, Besilu Stables and Adena Springs, the 2012 edition of the sale ended on Friday with a 50 per cent surge in median to $45,000 and 14.17 per cent gain in average to $87,354.

Due to a significantly smaller catalogue, Keeneland sold approximately 400 fewer horses than last year, yet the aggregate fell by only 1.66 per cent to $219,781,500.

Particularly impressive was the 7.78 per cent rise in clearance rate to 81.8 per cent while unprecedented during the final three days of the sale was the drop in RNA rate to single digits.

"This was an extraordinary sale that was driven by the sheer number of people who attended and the high volume of trade they generated," said Walt Robertson, Keeneland's Vice President of Sales.

"There were a number of new faces as well as longtime clients, and we welcomed many returning buyers, such as Juddmonte Farm, who have been out of the sales scene lately. The interest level was unlike anything we've experienced in recent memory."

Robertson added: "It continues to be a highly competitive, highly selective market. In many cases, horses far exceeded their reserves, which meant there were several underbidders who then bought other horses to fill their orders. And while there were fewer horses who failed to meet their reserve, there was active trade in the RNA market as those horses were sold privately."

Keeneland officials noted that buyers were out in force well into the final days of the sale, and there was greater participation during the second week this year compared to 2011.

"The high volume of trade was accomplished despite the fact that three of last year's top five buyers were not major players at this year's sale," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland Director of Sales.

"While obviously we missed them, the September Sale is so big and so strong that other buyers stepped up and absorbed their absence. The majority of international buyers attend only one American sale each year, and that is the September Yearling Sale." 

Taylor Made Farm ended the sale as leading buyer for the eighth time in the past decade, in this instance after selling 242 yearlings for a total of $23,752,000.

Mark Taylor, vice president of marketing and public sales operations of Taylor Made Farm, said: "It's been great. Leading up to the sale, I thought if demand could hold steady with last year, the sale would keep getting stronger as people came to the realisation that ‘we're running out of horses and we need to get our orders filled.'

"What is amazing to me is to look at how few horses Darley bought. A while ago I would have thought (Darley's diminished participation) would have led to a catastrophic downturn. But that void was able to be filled. It shows that the horse business, and Keeneland September in particular, is resilient. It's the global marketplace, and when there's opportunity, people are going to take advantage of it."

Seven yearlings sold for $1 million or more compared to six in 2011. A colt by Distorted Humor out of Grade 1 winner Mushka consigned by Eaton Sales brought $1.65 million to be the sale's highest-priced yearling.

The colt was one of 17 yearlings purchased for $8,250,000 by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum's Shadwell Estate Company Ltd., the sale's leading buyer.




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