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First Inglis sale to be conducted at the company’s new venue next week is a genuine ‘first’ unlike its predecessors

Steve Moran | 03.02.2018

The first Inglis-sold horse at Newmarket in Sydney was in 1905 but it was not the first horse sold at those yards. Similarly, Dalgety Bloodstock had conducted auctions at Oaklands in Melbourne from 1986.

The first Inglis-sold yearling, at that venue, was in 1994 at the Melbourne Premier sale. That was a year after Dalgety was acquired by William Inglis and Son.

The first at Riverside Stables, at Warwick Farm in Sydney, will of course be at 6pm next Saturday night.

Inglis director Jonathan D’Arcy and ‘specialist’ auctioneer and former Inglis Melbourne chief Peter Heagney both attended that 1994 Premier Sale and remember it – but not that well as it turns out!

Fortunately, D’Arcy had the catalogue at hand in his office. “There were 396 lots which included the first yearlings by Zabeel and Canny Lad. I remember it was all pretty seamless as we had the Melbourne expertise of people like Peter (Heagney), Michael Kelliher, Ian Baird and Mark Dodemaide and others,” D’Arcy said.

Canny Lad features in the pedigrees of no fewer than five first seasons sires who have offspring catalogued next week, while Zabeel is represented via Time For War, from the Zabeel mare Lady Zebelia.

D’Arcy’s quick scan of that 1994 catalogue revealed that the major vendors included Blue Gum Farm, Trevenson Park, Stockwell Stud, Muranna Stud (Norman Carlyon), Dr Bill Riches and Sir Donald Trescowthick’s Cornwall Park.

The first lot was a Full And By filly who was passed in at $4,000 (reserve $5,000) but the tempo picked up with Lots 2 and 3 going for $16,000 and $32,000 respectively.

Trainers Mick Kent and Rick Hore-Lacy were among the early buyers but, perhaps, the most interesting early yearling was Lot 9, a Tirol filly offered by Robert Crabtree, who was knocked down for the then considerable sum of $75,000 to the now Australian Jockey’s Association Chairman Des O’Keefe.

The silky voiced Heagney, who first raised the gavel at a Perth standard-bred sale in 1975 (for Coles Bloodstock Agency) and who will continue to auctioneer this year, remembers the first sale conducted at Oaklands. “It was chaotic and I suspect it might be very busy next week with people wanting to be part of a historic occasion,” he said

All is ready for the occasion and D’Arcy and Inglis managing director Mark Webster are buoyant even if Inglis has a tough, record 2017 act to follow. Successful outcomes for Magic Millions and New Zealand Bloodstock in January have to be seen as a positive indicator continuing on from a strong 2017.

“The Southern Hemisphere yearling market is very sound at present thanks to increasing prize money returns to owners, a weak Australian dollar and the ongoing rise in quality and reputation of the Australian thoroughbred,” said Webster. “Inglis enjoyed a record year in 2017 as our three major yearling sales all enjoyed significant growth – the Australian Easter Yearling Sale average was up 26 per cent; the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale average was up 11 per cent and the Classic Sale average jumped 25 per cent.

“The Gold Coast sale this year increased around 10 per cent, which is further evidence the confidence in the market has not diminished as we enter the 2018 sales season. Historically when the Gold Coast enjoys a good sale, Inglis enjoys a great sales season and I remain confident that will again be the case this year.

“Our catalogue for Classic is the largest we have ever presented to buyers, with 800 yearlings to be offered at Riverside Stables. Our move there has allowed us to increase the size of the catalogue from 600 which was the capacity at Newmarket.”

D’Arcy added that the feedback has been good on the new complex. “We started showing vendors through Riverside back in May 2017. Since then it has been a constant stream of inquisitive people as the word spreads throughout the breeding fraternity. I think when everyone starts arriving for Classic they will be suitably impressed.

“The sales arena, stabling complex and adjoining William Inglis Hotel speak for themselves. This is a unique equine precinct and so much more. There has been a lot of industry consultation about the design of parade spaces, stables, wash bays and the like and while not everyone will get their wish I think overall we have created a comfortable, spacious and safe facility that will be user friendly for both buyers and sellers,” he said.

Next Saturday’s Warwick Farm raceday will precede the sale. It features the Inglis Classic for two-year-olds which was won last year by subsequent Golden Slipper Stakes runner-up Frolic.

The Inglis 3YO Sprint has been added to the card. It was run previously at Randwick on Villiers Day. In 2019, the race rises in prizemoney from $250,000 to $1,000,000 and is open to all Inglis yearling sale graduates who are paid up for the race series.  

The Riverside Stables complex, which was mooted as far back as 2007, is nearing its 2018 reality and it promises to be a momentous occasion.

Webster first raised the matter of a new complex at the first strategic planning session he attended with the Inglis board shortly after his appointment in 2007.

“While I’d only been there for eight or nine months, I could see the limitations with the Newmarket site in terms of space and potential planning changes with government and councils prioritising health and education in the Randwick precinct.

“It wasn’t then set in stone but it began with seeking permission from the board to explore our options in finding an alternative site should the time arise when we had to move,’ Webster said.

Inglis purchased the land, adjacent to the Warwick Farm racecourse in 2009, and construction has proceeded with haste over the past 12 months. It had to, of course. It includes the 144 room William Inglis Hotel which opened for business on 22 January. Mail is it’s booked out next weekend.

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