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‘You’d be hard pressed to find a participant that doesn’t have a positive success story’ 

Inglis has changed the format for the 2024 Classic Yearling Sale but the auction house has resisted the temptation to follow the lead of its rival Magic Millions and increase the number of horses offered at its pot of gold February auction. 

Inglis last night released a single 808-lot catalogue for the February 11 to 13 sale at Riverside Stables in Sydney and in doing so confirmed it had axed its Highway Session and merged the three-day sale into a one-book offering.

Inglis Bloodstock chief executive Sebastian Hutch explained that the “volume of interest in getting placement in the sale was massively high”, leading to the auction house merging the books and abandoning the Highway session after five years.

There will be an extra ten vendors represented at Classic next year while the progeny of a variety of stallions to be offered include Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice), Proisir (Choisir), Justify (Scat Daddy), Zoustar (Northern Meteor), Written Tycoon (Iglesia) and first crop yearlings by the likes of Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) winner Farnan (Not A Single Doubt), elite sprinter Bivouac (Exceed And Excel), Ole Kirk (Written Tycoon), Tagaloa (Lord Kanaloa) and King’s Legacy (Redoute’s Choice).

“We’ve worked as hard as we can with vendors to try and facilitate as many of them as we possibly can,” Hutch told ANZ Bloodstock News of accommodating breeders’ wishes of consigning horses at Riverside next February.

“An important objective of ours is to maintain diversity in the profile of vendors that are part of the sale and in terms of the stallions. 

“We’ve got 79 vendors represented and the progeny of 110 different stallions and that’s something that we’re very pleased about and, ultimately, we’re delighted about the catalogue that’s been put together.”

The Classic sale has a growing reputation for being a source of high-end race success and this spring, at the highest level in the Sydney and Melbourne carnivals, has been no exception, highlighted by Pride Of Jenni (Pride Of Dubai) who won back-to-back Group 1s at Flemington in the space of a week.

Opal Ridge (Rubick), Roots (Press Statement), Buenos Noches (Supido), Veight (Grunt), Arkansaw Kid (Harry Angel) and Democracy Manifest (Flying Artie) also all banked significant prize-money returns in the past three months for their respective connections in stakes races.

For Hutch, there is no greater advertisement for the Classic sale than the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Pride Of Jenni, the winner of the Empire Rose Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) and the Champions Mile (Gr 1, 1600m) earlier this month.

“If it’s not the great success story of the spring, it’s one of them,” Hutch said. 

“Pride Of Jenni is a $100,000 graduate of the Classic sale and she’s won two Group 1s and nearly $3 million in prize-money and there’s lots of examples of that.

“The four-year-old series in Hong Kong earlier in the year was won exclusively by graduates of the Classic sale: the Hong Kong Classic Cup, the Classic Mile and the Derby.

“Arguably, another Classic graduate in Beauty Eternal may prove to be better than all of them in Hong Kong. He is a very exciting horse [who won the Jockey Club Mile yesterday].

“You’d be hard pressed to find a participant in the market from Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia that doesn’t have a positive success story or hasn’t enjoyed a degree of success with a graduate of the Classic sale.”

Davali Thoroughbreds’ David and Alison Hush have long been supporters of the Classic sale and they will consign ten yearlings at next year’s sale carefully selected for the Riverside Stables marketplace. 

“Two years ago we broke the sale record with our Capitalist colt [subsequently usurped at the same sale by a $625,000 colt], so that was quite exciting and we’ve had a few good results there buying mares in foal and selling that stock through Classic. It has been very good to us,” Alison Hush said yesterday of Davali’s affiliation with the Classic sale.

“I always recommend to our clients that we want to be in the top half of the catalogue, rather than the bottom half, so we have nice pedigrees by some very commercial sires and they should be in the top half of that catalogue.”

The Davali draft features a Capitalist (Written Tycoon) daughter first foal out of stakes-placed Sofie’s Gold Class (Hard Spun), a King’s Legacy half-brother to the Merson Cooper Stakes (Listed, 1000m) placed Gangitano (Written By), a filly by Hellbent (I Am Invincible), Yarraman Park’s newly minted Group 1-producing sire, and three yearlings by Newgate Farm’s freshman sire North Pacific (Brazen Beau).

The Hushes will also offer a Russian Revolution (Snitzel) filly out of Bright Rubick (Rubick) on behalf of breeder Stuart Ramsey.

“There’s a lovely Capitalist filly who will be a bit of a standout on type and the cheaper side of things we’ve got a very nice Headwater filly and type sells at that sale,” she said.

“Obviously there’s a little bit of doom and gloom, but the Classic sale’s nice and early and there still should be money around, so I think we can be optimistic about how the sale’s going to be.”

The release of the Classic catalogue by Inglis comes soon after rival Magic Millions announced a beefed up Gold Coast offering in January with 1,468 yearlings lotted across Books 1 and 2.

With Magic Millions taking on more horses for the season-opening sale, considered an advantage by some vendors given it’s the first opportunity for buyers to spend their money on new horses in 2024, Hutch played down the importance of the market dynamic.

“My answer to that is, the Easter entries are as high as they’ve been at any stage in the past five years, certainly at any stage in my time at Inglis and demand for places at Classic and Premier is very competitive,” Hutch said.

“The reality is, the volume of stock being made available for the commercial marketplace has never been so high and as a consequence there are more yearlings looking for places in commercial sales across the board.”

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