Records Tumble At Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale
The recent Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale saw stunning increases across the board, with the aggregate at the three-day sale breaking the $100,000,000 mark for the first time.
Gross receipts for the 711 lots sold realised $105,530,000, a rise of 41 per cent on the aggregate of $74,676,000 in 2016, representative of a buoyant market that has seen records tumble across the majority of the major sales in Australia this year.
There were also increases in average, $148,425 this year compared to $134,309 last year, and median, up to $80,000 from $70,000, with a clearance rate of 83.5 per cent also an improvement on the 82 per cent achieved in 2016.
Magic Millions managing director Vin Cox told ANZ Bloodstock News that the results of the sale were extraordinary, and said the current strength in the Australian racing industry was being replicated at the sales.
“The fact that (the National Sale) nearly topped the January Yearling Sale is just extraordinary, really,” Cox said.
“There is confidence right across the board, whether it is internationals buying mares in foal or the domestic breeder that has obviously sold their yearlings well and are reinvesting or upgrading their mares. It just shows how strong the Australian racing industry is.
“I’m not sure the number of new stallions at stud has impacted on demand (for mares), but the real effect on demand is the strength of the yearling market.”
Cox added that the current exchange rate against the Australian dollar was giving buyers the confidence to spend big on prospective purchases.
“There is no doubt that the (lower) Australian dollar is a massive help. When you have got the Americans and the mainland Chinese investors getting in so heavily there is no doubt that the dollar is attractive for them,” Cox said.
“I know John Moynihan, for example, wanted to sit where he can see the board with the US dollar conversion so he can see exactly what he is spending, so the dollar has a big effect.”
Snitzel Leads The Way
Arrowfield Stud stallion Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) has set new benchmarks on the track this season, and he led the way at the Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale as the leading covering sire for the first time.
The son of multiple champion Australian sire Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) is on course to assume the mantle last held by his father in the 2013-14 season, with the 14-year-old currently $1,000,000 clear of Street Cry (Machiavellian) in the general sires standings by earnings with a little over a month of the season remaining.
He replaced Medaglia d’Oro (El Prado) as the leading covering sire at the sale this year, with his eight mares sold in foal realising an aggregate of $4,795,000 at an average of $599,375, with a top lot of $1,100,000.
“It’s been a tremendous season for Snitzel in the sale ring, on the back of stunning racetrack results which is what it’s all about,” Jon Freyer, bloodstock manager for Arrowfield Stud, told ANZ Bloodstock News.
Snitzel has also set a new record for the number of individual juvenile winners in a season, having sired, at time of print, 35 two-year-old winners during the 2016-17 campaign and he will stand for an increased fee of $176,000 (inc GST) this year, having stood last season for $110,000 (inc GST).
Freyer said that, given the quality book of mares Snitzel has covered over the past year, the future looks incredibly bright for the stallion.
“We’re delighted to see the prices achieved by a superb group of mares in foal to him, and given the outstanding quality of mares he’s served in the past few seasons, we’re very excited about what’s ahead of him,” Freyer said.
The most expensive mare sold in foal to Snitzel was The Party Stand (Thorn Park), catalogued as Lot 941, http://ecat.magicmillions.com.au/viewLot/17GWM/941 who was purchased for $1,100,000 by Adrian Nicoll of BBA Ireland for international clients from the draft of Segenhoe Stud.
The ten-year-old mare won the New Zealand Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) at Ellerslie in 2011 and has produced three named foals to date, including the stakes-placed filly Petition (Foxwedge). She also produced a colt by Snitzel in 2015, who is yet to race.
Peter O’Brien, managing director of Segenhoe Stud, said at the sale that the figure achieved by The Party Stand exceeded expectations, though he contributed the spike in price to the interest in Snitzel.
“She was bought by a renowned judge in Adrian Nicoll and she is a Group One winner, and in my humble opinion she as good a looking mare as you would see,” O’Brien told ANZ Bloodstock News earlier this month.
“Obviously being in foal to a champion stallion Snitzel helped, but we didn’t expect she would make that much. We thought she would make maybe $600,000 to $700,000. The way the market is at the moment the good mares are making a lot more that you think.”
Freyer, himself the tenth leading purchaser at the sale by aggregate with 14 purchases for a total spend of $2,236,000 under the Freyer Bloodstock banner, added that he was grateful to breeders who had thrown their support behind Snitzel.
“We’re grateful to the breeders who helped us launch Snitzel in the critical early years of his career,” Freyer said.
“He and Not A Single Doubt offer a good lesson for all of us because, despite being superlative sires of two-year-olds, they were both relatively “slow burns” early on.
“They remind us of the excellent value and opportunities offered by a number of younger stallions getting underway now.”
Widden Stud Scale Vendors Standings
Widden Stud made significant strides in the leading vendors standings by aggregate at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale, climbing to the top of the table from seventh place last year.
The Hunter Valley-based operation sold 47 mares at the three-day auction for a total gross of $10,890,500 at an average price of $231,713 and a clearance rate of 87 per cent.
Their success was, in large part, down to the sale of two mares, with Polska (Encosta De Lago) selling in foal to Widden Stud resident Sebring (More Than Ready) for $1,600,000 and Scarlet Rain (Manhattan Rain) achieving $950,000.
The nine-year-old Polska, catalogued as Lot 1504, http://ecat.magicmillions.com.au/viewLot/17GWM/1504 has already produced the Group Two-winning pair Catch A Fire and Seaburge, both by Sebring, and she was purchased by Dean Hawthorne for GSA Bloodstock, with Widden Stud selling the mare on behalf of her owner David Henderson.
Widden Stud marketing and nominations manager Ryan McEvoy told ANZ Bloodstock News that the sale was an excellent results for Henderson and his family.
“(The Hendersons) are commercial breeders and part-raced Sebring and remain shareholders in him, and they are currently looking at increasing their broodmare band. They felt that a mare like Polska could achieve enough that it would help them buy three or four other mares, and that is what they did,” McEvoy said.
“She was a great result for them and now been able to go and buy a few different mares, so they were thrilled.
“There weren’t too many of those mares in the catalogue who were proven (producers) and obviously her first two foals have been proper horses (Catch A Fire and Seaburge) and she was in foal to Sebring, which was obviously appealing as it is real nick that seems to be working.
“She is a good looking young mare who is only two or three years older than (the top-priced) Gregers and her first two foals are top-quality stakes winners.”
Earlier at the sale, James Harron Bloodstock made the winning bid of $950,000 for Scarlet Rain, catalogued as Lot 1660, http://ecat.magicmillions.com.au/viewLot/17GWM/1660 from the Widden Stud draft.
The three-year-old filly, who won the Sweet Embrace Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) as a two-year-old, was sold on behalf of Darby Racing, and McEvoy told ANZ Bloodstock News that she has the potential to excel as broodmare.
“We have always got along with the Darby Racing guys and we had sold Yankee Rose as a yearling to them and we have always kept in touch, so we were thrilled when they made contact with us to act on their behalf to sell Scarlet Rain,” McEvoy said.
“She is a gorgeous type who we were happy to show to anyone, with James Harron eventually buying her. She looks like a natural broodmare who will produce early two-year-old types as she was a quick mare herself.”
A factor in the increased offering by Widden Stud at this year’s sale, up to 61 offered from 38 last year, was the dispersal of long-time client Robert Anderson, McEvoy added.
“Robert Anderson is a valued client who was a major contributing factor to the size of our draft and underpins the gross we achieved in the end which was strong,” he said.
“We had a quality draft and Robert had built up a really good broodmare band over the past 15 to 20 years full of commercial mares hence it proved a big gross for us.”
The sale of Scarlet Rain, who was purchased from the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale for $100,000 in 2015, was also one of the highlights of the three-day auction for Vin Cox.
“One of the highlights for me was the syndicate of Darby Racing and their excitement when they sold their Manhattan Rain mare Scarlet Rain,” Cox said.
“They were visibly excited by the whole thing and it was great from Magic Millions’ point of view as they bought her from us as a yearling. She raced and was a very good two-year-old, winning a lead up to the Golden Slipper, before going around in the Slipper itself.
“She then came back to the Gold Coast to sell and she made well above what they were expecting. When they did buy her they didn’t spend a lot of money on her either.”
Widden Also Among Key Purchasers
Widden Stud were also active on the buying front, purchasing 11 mares either outright or in partnership. Antony Thompson of Widden Stud with partners also purchased ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) winner Peggy Jean (Myboycharlie) in foal to I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) for $1,000,000 at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale.
This year, Widden Stud purchased Comprende (I Am Invincible) in foal to Snitzel for $1,050,000 in partnership with agent David Lucas.
The four-year-old mare, who was catalogued as Lot 1123, http://ecat.magicmillions.com.au/viewLot/17GWM/1123 was Group Three-placed when raced by Phillip Stokes and is a half-sister to the Group Three-winning pair Excites Zelady (Excites) and Zelady’s Night Out (Myboycharlie).
McEvoy added that several of Widden’s purchases had been bought to support their new recruit Stratum Star (Stratum), with the dual Group One winner due to stand his first season at stud for a fee of $11,000 (inc GST).
“We were lucky enough a few of the partners who bought into Peggy Jean with us were keen to come back into some nice mares again and we did an enormous amount of leg work before the sale and again at the sale grading them and valuing them,” McEvoy said.
“We had some clients who were prepared to put their trust to find some nice commercial mares and we were tickled pink to buy what we did. Comprende is as a good a type as you will find with an early service to Snitzel,” he continued.
“We were also keen to buy some mares for Stratum Star and we got half a dozen for him. They were nice, speedy winning mares and we were rapt to get what we came home with.
“There were a lot of mares on our list and we obviously didn’t get them but we were delighted with the ones we did get.”
Burke Bloodstock Top By Average
There was also a new name at the heads of the leading vendors standings by average, with three or more lots sold, with Burke Bloodstock replacing Edinglassie Stud who led the table last year.
In total, Burke Bloodstock sold five mares for an aggregate of $4,150,000 at an average of $830,000, including the sale’s top lot Gregers (Commands), who was purchased by Yu Long Investments for $1,750,000.
Bidding for the Group Two-winning mare, who was catalogued as Lot 1240, http://ecat.magicmillions.com.au/viewLot/17GWM/1240 opened at $500,000 but quickly broke the $1,000,000 mark, with Yu Long Investments prevailing over Jon Freyer, acting for Japanese owner Katsumi Yoshida, after a spirited duel.
The mare, who also finished placed at Group One level when raced by Lindsay Park, was sold in foal to the Woodside Park-based stallion Written Tycoon (Iglesia).
David Burke, who formed the Hunter Valley-based Burke Bloodstock just last year, was understandably thrilled with the sale of Gregers.
“She always had the potential to make that sort of money, but it takes two strong purchasers there to go to that level and luckily enough we had the right people on the mare,” Burke told ANZ Bloodstock News earlier this month.
“I must thank the owners for entrusting her with me to sell, it has been a real privilege to put a draft through of this quality at my first sale up here at Magic Millions.”
Gregers’ breeder and former part-owner, Victorian businessman Colin McKenna, was confident that she would attract plenty of attention but admitted her price exceeded expectations.
“We didn’t think she would quite make that much and we had a reserve on her ourselves to buy her out,” McKenna said at the sale.
“There is no issue with the (ownership) partnership, it was just that a couple of the partners wanted to sell, and that is a very, very big price.
“We have got her sister at home and we’ve still got plenty coming through. We don’t like selling them, but sometimes you have to. It’s not about the money, it’s just that they get too valuable to be walking around at home.”
Among Burke Bloodstock’s other successes was Lot 755, http://ecat.magicmillions.com.au/viewLot/17GWM/755 an unraced three-year-old filly by Fastnet Rock (Danehill), called Mousai, who is a three-quarters sister to Group One winner Amicus and a half-sister to multiple Group One winner Starspangledbanner (Danehill Dancer) and she sold for $870,000 to Seymour Bloodstock.
Two days later, Burke Bloodstock sold the dual Group Two-winning mare Zurella (Zabeel), catalogued as Lot 1696, http://ecat.magicmillions.com.au/viewLot/17GWM/1696 in foal to Vancouver (Medaglia d’Oro) for $800,000 to Dean Hawthorne Bloodstock.
Newstar Aiming To Expand Broodmare Band
Newstar Bloodstock, the recently established partnership made up of Newgate Farm, SF Bloodstock, Winstar and Matthew Sandblom’s Kingstar Farm, were a significant presence at this year’s National Broodmare Sale.
The group purchased 20 mares for a total aggregate of $5,015,000 at the auction, finishing second behind China Horse Club in the leading purchaser standings by gross.
The top lot purchased by Newstar during the three-day sale was the former Godolphin-raced filly Chipanda (Sepoy), catalogued as Lot 677, http://ecat.magicmillions.com.au/viewLot/17GWM/677 who fetched $550,000 from the draft of Godolphin.
The rising four-year-old, who was Group Three-placed a juvenile and is a three-quarter sister to the stakes winner Rusambo (Elusive Quality), was purchased as breeding prospect to add the the burgeoning band of Newstar-owned broodmares.
Henry Field, representing Newstar Bloodstock and managing director of Newgate Farm, told ANZ Bloodstock News that the partnership had targeted a series of high-profile sales in Australia and North America in an attempt to assemble a high quality band of broodmares.
“We have had a strategic plan to continue the growth of our broodmare band for the past six months or so and have been very active at the sales, at Keeneland last November, the Inglis Chairman’s Sale in April, in the private market and at the Magic Millions,” Field said.
Four of Newstar’s purchases broke the $400,000 barrier at the sale, including the Aspiration Stakes (Gr 3, 1600m) winner Elle Lou (Snitzel) who was catalogued as Lot 697 http://ecat.magicmillions.com.au/viewLot/17GWM/697 and cost $480,000 from the draft of Attunga Stud.
Field said that the physical standard of the mares on offer was exceptionally high, however he was also of the opinion that the number of top-class race mares fell short on previous renewals, meaning the competition for Group Two and Three standard mares pushed up prices.
“What I found amazing about the quality of the Magic Millions national sale was the level of high class physical individuals, the standard was quite extraordinary,” Field said.
“However, I thought that very high-end mares were light on the ground, with very few Group One winners in the sale, and this probably pushed up the prices on the better Group Two and Group Three winners and producers because they ended up being the best mares in the catalogue.”
Field added that the top-heavy aspect of the current market in Australia was not necessarily a boost for vendors.
“(The market) is obviously very strong at the moment. That being said if you’re not dealing in the quality sector of the market, vendors are being punished badly,” Field continued.
“From a consignment perspective, we found that unless your weanling was by, or your mare in foal to, a proper Australian stallion prospect or a genuine proven sire, people just weren’t even pulling them out for inspection.
“The upside for Newgate Farm is that this market trend has vindicated our belief to invest heavily in the very best Australian stallion prospects over the last few years.”
Cox Points To Outcross Popularity
With outcross mares commanding huge sums across the sale, Vin Cox told ANZ Bloodstock News that the demand for breeding prospects who are free from Danehill (Danzig) blood had helped boost figures.
“There is certainly a large consideration made by mare purchasers as to which stallions they can send to those mares, so those that do have the outcross (to Danehill) demand extra interest,” Cox said.
Cox also believes that the Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale has become one of the flagship breeding stock sales in the world.
“Who would have ever thought that a mares sale in the Southern Hemisphere would crack $100,000,000?” he said.
“The sale has come from very modest beginnings, not all that long ago it failed to gross $30,000,000.
“It is now one of three big breeding stock sales around the world to attend. People want to go to Kentucky, Newmarket in England and now Magic Millions on the Gold Coast.
“That is one thing that the Australian market has probably more so than certainly Europe and probably America is that we do have a trade mentality.
“There are a lot of people in the business that the trading model is their modus operandi. That is the way they operate, buying mares, getting them in foal, buying them off the track and trading them on.
“There are various ways you can do it. There is a big element of our market that is about trading.”
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