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Satisfactory start to JRHA select yearling sale

Offered Sold Aggregate Average Median
214 173 3.157 billion (+14.5%)
18.25m (-17.5%)
15m (-6%)

JAPANESE buyers, including several prominent businessmen just beginning to get involved in racing, savoured opportunities created by a toiling economy as the Japan Racing Horse Association select sale opened on Monday at the Northern Horse Park with yearlings.

Consignors and breeders, however, had to endure a pinch created between the high stud fees paid for the horses they were trying to sell and declining market conditions.

Yet when the session ended, 81 per cent of the horses that went through the ring were reported sold and sellers were able to take a deep breath before a single session for foals begins Tuesday morning.

"It wasn't a bloodbath," said Irishman Harry Sweeney, who operates Paca Paca Farm near Shizunai, Japan. While Sweeney compared the results to treading water, he noted he preferred that scenario to drowning.

JRHA officials reported that of 214 yearlings offered, 173 were sold for total turnover of 3.157billion yen (£23,355,549/€27,859,367) and an average of 18.25 million yen (£135,018/€161,055).

Since there were significantly fewer horses offered (156) and sold (122) last year, the 2010 yearlingaggregate increased by 14.5 per cent, but the average price declined by 17.5 per cent and the median fell six per cent to 15m yen (£110,979/€132,370).

"I'm very satisfied with these results," said Teruya Yoshida, JRHA vice chairman and owner of Shadai Farm. "The quality of this catalogue is not quite as strong as in previous years but the range of buyers has grown. That is good considering this economic situation."

A muscular bay colt by Triple Crown winner and first-season sire Deep Impact topped the session on a bid of 66m yen (£488,240/€582,429) from Makoto Kaneko, in whose silks Deep Impact competed.

Consigned by Katsumi Yoshida's Northern Farm, the colt was produced by American and French Group 3 winner Isle de France, a Nureyev mare who is a half sister to Japanese champion Diamond Biko and a daughter of American Grade 1 winner Stella Madrid. Kaneko bought six yearlings, including two others by Deep Impact.

But new buyers pushed their way toward at the top of the market, with Tokyo-based investment manager Yutaka Uda purchasing the second highest-priced yearling, another colt by Deep Impact, for 60m yen (£443,775/€529,438).

The top end of this benchmark market clearly has contracted, with this year's top colt bringing less than half of last year's most expensive yearling.

Yet Teruya Yoshida said he was optimistic about the foal session.
"I'm looking forward to the foals because the quality is as good as in previous years and there has been a lot of interest in them," he said. "I hope for much higher prices [on Tuesday]."




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