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Record Top Lot As Key Figures Rise At Melbourne Premier


Jack Keene | 31.03.2017

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A colt by sire of the moment I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) was sold for a record breaking $1,400,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale as the key statistics saw increases across the board.

The four-day sale, which follows hot on the heels of the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale and precedes the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, has seen significant growth in recent years.

This year’s aggregate of $53,959,500 for 448 lots sold represents a steep increase in gross receipts of $21,880,819 since 2012, when 552 lots sold realising a total $32,078,681 at the sale five years ago.

Compared to last year’s renewal, the aggregate was up by just over $2,000,000 from $51,728,000, the average rose to $120,441 from $110,767 and the median increased to $100,000 from $85,000, with the clearance rate holding steady at 88 per cent.

The auction-topping son of I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit), consigned by Gilgai Farm and catalogued as Lot 259, was sold to Caulfield-based trainer Ciaron Maher for $1,400,000, double the amount paid for the top lot at last year’s sale.

Maher ended the sale as the leading purchaser after he purchased six lots at the sale for an aggregate of $2,010,000 at an average price of $335,000.

Supreme Thoroughbreds took over from Blue Gum Farm as the sale’s leading vendor by aggregate, while Gilgai Farm finished top of the standings by average (with three or more lots sold).

The recent success of Yarraman Park’s I Am Invincible continued at the sale, with his 19 lots sold achieving an aggregate of $4,275,000, while Darley’s Lonhro (Octagonal) achieved the best average, with four of his progeny selling for $1,200,000 at an average of $300,000.

Growth Continues At Premier

The recent growth of the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale shows no signs of abating, with the key figures at the four-day auction realising increases for the fifth consecutive year.

Simon Vivian, the bloodstock manager for Inglis Melbourne, said the results indicated that the sale was in rude health and that breeders and purchasers alike could conduct business there with confidence.

“We went into the Premier Sale with a dedicated aim to achieve a high clearance rate as this truly reflects the health of a sale,” Vivian told ANZ Bloodstock News.

“To that end, we exceeded an 88 per cent clearance and we are delighted with that result.

“Furthermore, to break the Victorian record price for a yearling was just outstanding. By selling the colt for $1,400,000, we showed Australasia’s breeders that such figures are achievable in Melbourne.

“We had a remarkably diverse group of buyers and the Inglis marketing team are to be complimented on attracting so many buyers, both nationally and internationally, to the sale.

“I also feel that the median price of $100,000 is a further indication on the way Premier has progressed in the market place.

“A couple of years ago, that figure was our target for the average price. Now 50 per cent of the horses individually achieve that figure.”

Vivian’s view that the strength and depth of the Premier Yearling Sale had improved was shared by the two leading purchasers.

 

Maher Leads The Way

Ciaron Maher has enjoyed plenty of success at the auction in recent years, purchasing triple Group One-winning mare Jameka (Myboycharlie) for $130,000 in 2014, and last year he paid $200,000 for the unbeaten juvenile colt Jukebox (Snitzel).

The trainer said that prospective owners were attracted to the sale with the majority of the horses on offer being VOBIS eligible.

“We’ve had good success at the sale with Jameka, and last year we had a good two-year-old in Jukebox,” Maher told ANZ Bloodstock News.

“A lot of the horses are VOBIS eligible, which suits racing and buying.

“I think (the success is) great. A lot of Victorian breeders solely sell there which gives a lot of people confidence going there. (As a buyer) you know the whole draft is going to the sale.

“I’ve found it a good sale in the past. This year, our stable has obviously increased in size and we had a lot of interest before the sale and ended up having a good sale.”

With a record lot costing $1,400,000 under his belt, Maher headed up the purchasers standings at Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale for the first time.

The trainer purchased six lots in total at the sale for an aggregate of $2,010,000 at an average price of $335,000 and a median of $147,500, compared to last year when he purchased four lots for a total gross of $720,000 at an average of $180,000, with a top price of $260,000.

The Caulfield-based trainer has also enjoyed a successful season on the track, saddling Jameka to run out a wide-margin winner of the Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m) in October, while Bon Aurum (Bon Hoffa) was also victorious at the highest level in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m).

Maher said that the sale-topping I Am Invincible colt had taken his eye from an early stage.

“I went and inspected him prior to the spring and really liked him then,” Maher told ANZ Bloodstock News.

“I looked at him without any pedigree and just liked him as a physical, as I did with some of their other horses up there (at Gilgai Farm) also.

“I looked at him again after the spring leading up to the sale and liked the way that he had progressed.

“He is a lovely mover and he’s got a lovely temperament, and obviously he’s also got a pedigree to match.”

Kelly Skillecorn of breeders Gilgai Farm told ANZ Bloodstock News that the stud’s principal, Rick Jamieson, was of the opinion that the sale-topping colt was one of the best he had ever bred.

“Rick felt the I Am Invincible colt is as good a horse as he’s ever bred and that he would have been a stand out at any sale,” Skillecorn said.

“I thought he was a million dollar colt. Rick came into the sale just hoping to beat his good mate, Peter Anasatasiou’s record price of $750,000.

“I very much doubt he would have made more money in any other sale, but we’re confident he’ll prove great value for the buyer in the long run.”

 

McEvoy Active At Premier Again
Trainer Tony McEvoy, who finished second in the purchasers standings having led the way 12 months ago, was also of the opinion that the progress of the sale was good for the Victorian breeding industry.

“The sale was strong. It’s becoming a very good quality sale. I like buying at the Melbourne sales, I think there are a lot of farms in Victoria that are really doing a good job preparing these good horses,” McEvoy told ANZ Bloodstock News.

“I’ve had good success buying from the sale and there was a lot of good quality horses there this year as well. I liked the sale, I thought it was very good.”

Though unable to retain his position as leading purchaser, McEvoy finished the sale in second place in the purchasers standings with 11 lots purchased at an aggregate of $1,745,000 and an average of $158,636.

McEvoy’s top buy came late on day three, when he made the winning bid of $330,000 to secure Lot 549, a Sebring (More Than Ready) colt from the draft of Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm.

The Group One-winning trainer told ANZ Bloodstock News that he felt the colt, who he had identified at an early stage, was something of a bargain.

“The horse that stood out for me was the horse that I bought off Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm, a Sebring colt,” he said.

“I thought he was a cheap colt. Having been to all the other sales leading up to Melbourne, I thought that, had he been sold at the Magic Millions up on the Gold Coast, he would have been bought for $500,000.

“I paid $330,000 for him and he was one of the nicest Sebring colts that I have laid my eyes on so far this year.

“He was the one colt that I wanted to take home from the sale.”

McEvoy saddled Hey Doc (Duporth) to win the Australian Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) earlier this month, his first Group One winner since branching out on his own, and he said he went to the Premier Yearling Sale with a positive mindset in order to aid the progress of his business model.

“I did have quite an aggressive plan. I wanted to go there and get 12 to 15 horses out of the sale to keep my model going like it’s been going recently, and there was plenty of nice horses there. I had planned to be aggressive and we were aggressive,” he said.

 

Supreme Top Vendors Standings

This year’s sale also saw a new name at the top of the vendors standings by aggregate, with Victorian-based Supreme Thoroughbreds improving from third place last year.

 

The operation sold 28 of their 32 lots for a gross of $3,572,500 at an average of $127,589, up from last year’s aggregate if $2,512,500 from 19 lots sold, though the average was down slightly from $132,237.

 

Supreme’s top lot at the sale was Lot 163, a colt by Written Tycoon (Iglesia) who was purchased by the Hong Kong Jockey Club for $500,000.

 

Supreme Thoroughbreds general manager Brent Grayling told ANZ Bloodstock News that the top of the market was strong, and that the operation’s success had been boosted by a partnership Dorrington Park.

 

“The sale was very prominent with the top of the market. The good horses sold very, very well. Generally there was a lot of interest; there was a lot of people there,” Grayling said.


“We had some really nice horses and they sold really well. In my honest opinion the middle of the market was a bit soft, but the top of the market was very, very hot.

“We had Dorrington Park’s horses with us, which was a very strong draft which helped increase our aggregate for sure.

 

“Also, I think it’s key to mention that if a yearling is by the right sire, there will be tremendous interest. If you have a yearling by a sire that buyers want, it just comes clear.

“There is a really good buyers benchmark, it’s becoming a really international sale.”

Blue Gum Farm, who had finished top of the vendors standings by aggregate 12 months ago, came in second with 26 lots sold realising $3,390,000 in aggregate.

 

Gilgai Farm were third in the table by aggregate but were out clear at the head of the standings for leading vendor by average, with their 13 lots sold realising $3,205,000 at an average of $246,538, almost $40,000 clear of Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm.

 

Kelly Skillecorn told ANZ Bloodstock News that the stud were keen to support the sale and boost the profile of the Victorian bloodstock industry.

 

“For the last couple of years we’ve offered all our yearlings at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, having previously dabbled with sending some of the better ones to Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale and Inglis Easter,” she said.

 

“There are two reasons we offer them all in one go at Melbourne. Firstly, we are conscious of supporting the Victorian bloodstock industry, partly to do with our close friendship with Simon Vivian, but mainly to get fully behind the whole industry down here.

 

“Secondly, we feel that if we offer the whole draft as a collective, the punters can be assured that we are not hiding anything. Our drafts will contain the best and worse that there are and the buyers can decide which horse is which.”

 

Skillecorn also pressed home the point that breeders can sell their better quality stock at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale with the confidence that they will be sold at the right price.


“What we and other Victorian breeders can take from the sale as a whole is that there is no doubt that if you take your best horses to this sale, you’ll get paid for them,” she said.

 

Healthy Racing Industry A Boost

With several of the major yearling sales exhibiting market growth this year, Skillecorn was keen to praise the current strength in the Australian racing industry.

 

With prize money levels across the country in a healthy state, Skillecorn said it was vital that racing continued to thrive for the long term prosperity of the breeding industry.


“The market was up, as it was at Magic Millions and Inglis Classic. The racing industry in Victoria and New South Wales is so healthy at the moment,” she said.

 

“Let’s hope racing keeps going forward, because it is directly reflected on the business of breeding and selling thoroughbreds.”

 

Following on from the success of the record-breaking four-day sale, Inglis’ Simon Vivian was thankful for the unwavering support of the local breeding industry


“It was a very rewarding and satisfying result,” he said.
“My thanks go to the vendors for entrusting us with a quality draft, to purchasers for their ongoing support and to the Inglis team for bringing it all together.”


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