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Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock adviser John Ferguson

John Ferguson: purchased $3.155 million worth of yearlings during the first session of Saratoga compared to $5.5 million last year

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker/ 

Aggregate plunges 47
per cent at Saratoga

Day one Fasig-Tipton Saratoga comparative results ($)
 Year  Cat  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2010  100  80  52  65  14,120,000  271,538  250,000
 2009  118  106  85  80  26,789,500  315,171  230,000

PROGENY by leading sire Street Cry dominated a tough opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearling Sale in upstate New York on Monday, at which the aggregate plunged 47 per cent.

The alarming 47 per cent drop can be partly attributed to a 24.5 per cent fall in horses offered, which in turn played its part in 39 per cent fewer horses sold. The clearance rate plummeted from 80 per cent to 65 per cent.

The average also suffered, dropping 14 per cent to $271,538, while no horse came close to breaking the $1 million barrier. The only bright spot was the median, which rose nine per cent to $250,000.

However, with one session to go, Fasig-Tipton officials were confident that the best horses were still to sell.

As in 2009, Sheikh Mohammed was present on the sale grounds, and again like last year, it was his expenditure through John Ferguson that underpinned the first session.

Ferguson walked away with eight lots worth $3,155,000 including the $800,000-topping son of Street Cry. Although his expenditure accounted for 22 per cent of the night's aggregate, it was less than the $5.5 million he paid for six lots last year.

Taylor Made Farm consigned the session-topping colt, who was bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm out of Don't Tacha Me. The unraced daughter of A P Indy is a half-sister to One Cool Cat, trained by Aidan O'Brien to land European champion two-year-old honours in 2004, and from the further family of Grade 1winner Aragorn.

"He's been a good horse throughout the year," said Ferguson. "He's by a sire that has done great things, and he's a very smart colt."

Ferguson also went to $400,000 for a Smart Strike granddaughter of Kentucky Oaks heroine Secret Status consigned by her part breeder Lane's End Farm. Ferguson paid $875,000 for the filly's full-sister at this sale last year. She was the only one of his eight purchases this time around not sired by a Darley stallion.

The first Street Cry yearling to create interest was a filly out of the Grade 3-placed Alchemist knocked down to Helen Groves for $775,000. Groves later revealed that she had bought out her partners in the filly, whotraces to her brilliant producer Courtly Dee.

Two yearlings worth $850,000 were snapped up by Shadwell Estates headed by a $525,000 son of Pulpit. Purchased by Beaver Creek Farm for $425,000 as a foal, the colt was one of six out of seven pinhooks listed as turning a profit.

Conspicuous by their absence was Rabbah Bloodstock, who contributed $715,000 to the aggregate last year, while Demi O'Byrne signed for just one yearling, a $150,000 colt by Giant's Causeway.

European participation was limited to Blandford Bloodstock, who signed for three lots led by a $200,000 Irish-bred daughter of Dubawi. The Newmarket agency's Richard Brown recently became the European representative for Fasig-Tipton.

Day one top five lots
 Breeding  Consignor  Buyer  Price
 c Street Cry - Don't Tacha Me  Taylor Made  John Ferguson  800,000
 f Street Cry - Alchemist  Eaton Sale  Helen K. Groves
 f A P Indy - Malka  Hill 'n' Dale  Bobby Flay  625,000
 c Pulpit - Boom Town Girl  Dromoland  Shadwell Estates  525,000
 c Rock Hard Ten - Belong To Sea  Lane's End  Live Oak Plant.  450,000



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