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Figures Finished Well Up In Melbourne

Patrick Halkett | 24.03.2016

The continuing expansion of racehorse ownership combined with a burgeoning demand from the international market were the driving factors behind a record-breaking week at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, according to two of the leading figures involved in the four-day event.

32 horses sold for more than $250,000 across the sale, contributing to an aggregate of $51,393,300 – an increase of 16 per cent on 2015. And Justin Bahen, who in conjunction with Little Hung went to $700,000 for the sale-topping son of Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice), attributes the growth to the rising number of owners at a grassroots level, particularly in the form of syndication.  

Speaking to ANZ Bloodstock News, Bahen said: “There seems to be a lot of confidence in the thoroughbred industry. I’m no economist, and I won’t profess to be, but one thing I have found is the appetite for the thoroughbred continues to increase on a regular basis.

“There are more people involved in the game now. Someone told me in passing that there’s been another seven to ten syndicators’ licenced and that’s going to give you more distribution.

“When the stock market boomed a few years ago, lots of people got into the share market and now maybe they are getting into the the racing industry for some fun instead.”

Growing demand amongst potential owners created a particularly competitive marketplace, according to Bahen. And an 87 per cent clearance rate is further testament to buyers’ willingness to purchase yearlings from across the price spectrum.

However, despite acquiring the top lot, Bahen did acknowledge trade to be most fierce in the mid-tier of the market. He added: “The competition in the ring was very strong. I have not bought a top lot before and when you’re up at that level there’s only a few people fighting, but when you are buying around the average price of the sale it’s very, very difficult to acquire colts.

“There are a lot of people at that level, especially pin-hookers after the breeze up sales having been so strong.”

Simon Vivian, bloodstock manager for Inglis in Victoria, echoed Bahen’s sentiments regarding the strength of the sale believes the record-breaking week was a result of a sustained interest from international buyers as well as a better quality of product than has previously been available in Melbourne.

He told ANZ Bloodstock News: “The continuing success of the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale is attributed to two significant things.

“Firstly, the quality of the stock we are being entrusted to sell continues to improve from year to year, and secondly, because of this improving quality the sale has progressed from a national sale to a truly international sale.

“The Victorian buying bench is extremely solid, but the buyers from South Africa, China, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia are having an increased impact on results.

“With its international appeal growing, Melbourne Premier has become an important sale for Australasian breeders to market their yearlings.”

Amongst the international buyers that drove an upturn in trade were the Hong Kong-based Sun Bloodstock, who purchased five lots for an aggregate of $970,000.

David O’Callaghan, bloodstock agent for Sun Bloodstock, believes that vendor confidence in the sale is clearly on an upward trajectory judging by the quality of yearling being offered at this year’s sale.

“As usual there was a good spread of yearlings,” O’Callaghan said. “Sun Bloodstock were fairly specific in what they were looking for but were pleased with what they were able to purchase.

“This sale continues to grow and develop and pound for pound would be one of the strongest sales in the country,” he added.

“The buying bench across the board is solid and in particular the Victorian trainers are very supportive of this sale, which is no doubt in part driven by the successful VOBIS scheme.

“There is no doubt vendors are getting greater confidence in the sale and this is being reflected in the horses being offered.”

Included among those vendors was Blue Gum Farm who, having sold 27 of their 28 lots offered, topped the vendor statistics in terms of aggregate for Session One of the Sale with a total of $4,710,000, recording an average of $174,444 and a median of $120,000.

Blue Gum Farm principal Philip Campbell also paid heed to the global nature of the market, commenting on the reciprocal relationship between the international buying bench and the quality of the product on offer.

Speaking to ANZ Bloodstock News, Campbell said: “The sale went terrifically well for us. The key driver in achieving the result was continually putting quality products in front of the buying bench.

“We believe in what Inglis are doing with the Premier Sale and believe that the strength of this sale is important to our state. The more the quality of the catalogue grows the more the quality of the buying bench grows. The proof of this is there for all to see with the continual growth of this sale in all areas over some years now.”

Amongst the 27 lots sold by Blue Gum Farm was the Sale-topping son of Snitzel knocked down to Bahen and Hung. Catalogued as Lot 474, the colt is out of dual winner Beauty World (Danehill Dancer), who has produced six winners from as many foals to race. They include three stakes winners – Hi World (High Chaparral), Lite’n In My Veins (Henrythenavigator) and Loveyamadly (Bel Esprit) – as well as the stakes-placed American Crew (Stratum).

Speaking of the colt, Campbell added: ‘This particular colt was a standout colt in September. He had the physical attributes and he had the pedigree.

“Probably the most impressive attribute he has though is his brain. He is a very intelligent, level headed horse who put up with the pressures of the sale exceptionally well. That’s got to stand him in great stead for his racing career which we look forward to watching unfold.

“He was always going to be a well sought after yearling.”

The progeny of Snitzel were well sought across the sale, with his 22 sold lots grossing an aggregate of $3,947,500, topping the sire statistics for the sale on this indicator, while recording an average of $179,432 and a median of $150,000.

Fastnet Rock (Danehill) topped the averages for those sires who sold at least three lots with eight yearlings averaging $270,625. At the head of the pile was a filly consigned by Swettenham Stud, who was knocked down to Carey Racing/Group One Bloodstock for $675,000.

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