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Records fall at Magic Millions as Coolmore secures session topper 

Global powerhouse wins tussle for $1.5 million Not A Single Doubt colt as aggregate surpasses last year’s figure at the Gold Coast

Magic Millions has achieved a record sale in a remarkable set of circumstances with tonight’s final Book 1 session still to come after three colts made more than a million dollars yesterday, further justifying the company’s bold decision to increase the size of their catalogue for 2021. 

At the close of play on Friday, the sale had surpassed last year’s record-breaking Book 1 aggregate, with 706 horses traded for a total of $180,130,000, up 1.5 per cent year-on-year. 

The average of $255,142 had also increased by two per cent, while the median held at $180,000 after a flurry of high-end activity towards the end of day four. The clearance rate was 88 per cent.

Coolmore, buyer of the two highest-priced lots sold on the Gold Coast so far this week, added to its valuable collection of expensive colts by securing a $1.5 million son of Not A Single Doubt (Redoute’s Choice) after an enthralling bidding duel yesterday. 

Three of the biggest industry names – Coolmore’s Tom Magnier, Shane McGrath, acting for Tony Fung and Phoenix Thoroughbreds, and senior trainer Ciaron Maher – were vying for the blue-blooded youngster. 

As bidding moved to $1 million, Magnier – standing alongside ally James Bester – was stationed at the back of the auction ring, with McGrath in their eyeline near the media office as Maher signalled his bids from the auditorium floor.

Seemingly out of the contest, McGrath returned to his chair as Maher made his move against the global powerhouse, further pushing the colt’s price higher before the Aquis Farm adviser re-entered the market at $1.4 million in the hope of landing their eighth colt by Not A Single Doubt for the week.

But when the Coolmore heavyweights bid on a horse, they are rarely beaten and so it proved again towards the middle of the afternoon, with Magnier signing for his third seven-figure lot in four days, led by the sale-topping $1.9 million Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) colt sold on Tuesday.

Magnier’s continued muscle at the top-end of the market was fuelled by a desire to capture potential stallion prospects as yearlings in the hope they can stand at farms in Australia, Ireland or the US.

“It’s a great family, he’s a great individual and he comes from one of the top farms in Sledmere,” Magnier said. “Their yearlings just look incredible and Royston and Treen (Murphy) are great breeders and we’ve bought horses there before with a deal of success, so we will go back to the well again and hopefully we get a bit of luck.

“James Bester, I and the whole team really liked this colt, so he will go to Chris (Waller) and hopefully we will have a runner here in the (Magic Millions 2YO Classic) race next year.”

Catalogued as Lot 811, the Rifa Mustang-bred and Sledmere Stud-consigned colt is the first foal out of Soleil Brulant (I Am Invincible), who is a half-sister to Listed winner Harlem River (Fastnet Rock). Further down his page is Coolmore’s Everest (1200m)-winning first season sire Yes Yes Yes (Rubick) and dual Group 1-winning sprinter In Her Time (Time Thief), who made $2 million as a broodmare at the 2020 Inglis Chairman’s Sale.

Sledmere’s Royston Murphy was elated with the result but admitted to some anxious moments in the lead-up to the colt’s sale.

“It’s always nerve-wracking when you get a good colt like that. We have loved him from day one and he is by far the best horse I have ever brought to this sale,” he said. 

“You have good expectations of horses, but it has been a hard sale to read. Some horses you think you might get a little overs and you don’t. Others, you think they are about the price and you get overs.

“He was a horse that everyone loved. You could not help but love him. He was just one of those horses. But to have an auction like that, with a bit of theatre. It was exciting and people were on and they were off.” 

Newhaven’s $1.05 million Snitzel colt heads to Rosehill

Later, a big-spending partnership overseen by Kitchwin Hills’ Mick Malone went to $1.05 million for a Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) colt destined for Gerald Ryan, the trainer who prepared the champion stallion to Group 1 glory on the racecourse. 

Offered by Newhaven Park as Lot 852, the grey is the second foal out of the Group 2-placed Supara (Domesday), herself the daughter of the stakes-placed Unabated (Encosta De Lago), whose six foals to race have all won.

“He is a beautiful horse, he’s a lovely, lovely colt and he is going to (be raced) by a group of guys to spread a bit of risk, so to speak,” Malone said. 

“The minute I saw him, I loved him and we’ve had a bit of luck with the Snitzels. He just had that shape and that look and that Domesday cross, we know it works. He is from a really good farm.”

The colt’s demeanor was a big factor in the hot competition he garnered in the ring. 

“Temperament is so important, so if they can keep walking around here (the parade ring) like they did the first time, it’s a big tick and he just rolled out every time,” Malone said. 

“I don’t know if you saw him out the back here, but nothing fazed it. With that sort of money, you’ve just got to hope you’re on the right one.

“Gerald will be training, he was part of the whole thing and he is on the team, and there’s no better man than Gerald when he picks up a Snitzel.”

Newhaven Park’s John Kelly was “thrilled” to see the colt excel in the ring having bred and raced Supara himself. 

“It’s just such a great reward for all the people at Newhaven who put in so much. We have sold a few (million-dollar lots) and we have had a bit of luck up here, selling the odd horse for a bit of money. It’s a difficult thing to do,” he said.

“The Magic Millions team, led by Barry Bowditch and with Gerry and Katie (Harvey), are to be congratulated. There were many times in the last month where we didn’t think we’d get here. I think it’s great credit to them and their organisation.”

New benchmark for Written Tycoon as Spendthrift makes first play 

Spendthrift Australia waited until the closing moments of day four to land a blow at this year’s sale, but the international operation certainly made its mark with the purchase of a $1.2 million colt by Written Tycoon (Iglesia), the same sire as principal B. Wayne Hughes’ Group 2-winning and Group 1-placed entire Dirty Work.

The third and final seven-figure lot sold yesterday, and the most expensive colt ever sold by Written Tycoon, was also the second million-dollar colt for Emirates Park in its triumphant return to the Magic Millions auction as a vendor, after they sold a $1.8 million son of Kingman (Invincible Spirit) to Tony Fung and Phoenix Thoroughbreds on Thursday.

Bryan Carlson, general manager of Emirates, confirmed the operation will retain a share in the Written Tycoon colt given the high regard in which he is held. 

“He’s an exceptional-moving colt and we came into the sale thinking he was going to sell well, but to get another million-dollar colt and finish the sale on top of averages was just outstanding,” Carlson said. 

“You couldn’t ask for a better international farm than Spendthrift, so for Emirates to work with Spendthrift and we have just asked if we can stay in. We look forward to the future with him.”

The colt is the fourth foal out of the placed Taqaseem (Medaglia d’Oro), who is a half-sister to Doomben Cup (Gr 1, 2000m) winner Sense Of Occasion (Street Sense). He was sold as Lot 869, the penultimate yearling to pass through the ring on Friday. 

“As Emirates will tell you, we’ve been back every day to look at him. He’s really well presented by them and we are really happy to have him join the team,” Spendthrift Australia’s general manager Garry Cuddy said.

“When a stallion works for you, with the success we have had with Dirty Work, and the horse walks out and he has similar attributes to that horse, you have to take him seriously.

“In this market he has obviously made his money, but we are very happy to have him.”

Tycoon demand continues as Hawkes’ secure colt by sire of Ole Kirk and Dirty Work

Wayne Hawkes, one third of the Sydney and Melbourne training team alongside brother Michael and father John, is naturally an unabashed fan of Written Tycoon, sire of Dirty Work and their reigning Golden Rose (Gr 1, 1400m) and Caulfield Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) winner Ole Kirk.

While the trio are likely to train the Spendthrift Australia-purchased Written Tycoon colt, Hawkes suggested you could never have too many in the stable as they secured another yearling by the sire for $750,000 yesterday.

“We had a little bloke called Ole Kirk have a little trial this morning and I think we all know he’s the best colt in the country thus far as far as the spring goes, and there’s a little bit to go in the autumn,” Hawkes said. 

“He wasn’t exactly like Ole Kirk, this bloke, but he wasn’t dissimilar either. We have had a good run with Dirty Work, and a nice filly that won on Oaks day called Written Beauty. 

“He’s flying, Written Tycoon, and I’m very lucky with my family to have three quality horses in the Sydney stable at the moment.”

Yesterday’s result was a record price for a yearling sold by Woodside Park Stud, surpassing the $625,000 realised by another son of their flag-bearing stallion Written Tycoon, who was knocked down to Aquis Farm at the 2018 edition of this sale. 

Wayne and John Hawkes inspected the colt at the Victorian farm over Christmas and Woodside’s chief executive James Price agreed he was a standout. 

“We saved the best until last. I have been here for two weeks, we brought four lovely horses and we thought he was the beautiful physical that they look for in this sale,” Price said.

“He was sharp, balanced and he is obviously by one of the best stallions in the country. We had a reserve of below $500,000 and to make $750,000, we are absolutely delighted. 

“It’s a record for Woodside Park Stud, so the whole team’s very excited. It’s not just us here selling the horses…a big thumbs up for everyone.”

The colt, catalogued as Lot 739, is the second foal out of the twice-winning European mare Salamati (Dubawi), whose second dam is the stakes winner Sexy Lady (Danehill Dancer), meaning this is also the same family as the Mike Moroney-trained German Group 2 winner Sound (Lando).

Waterhouse and Bott go to $750,000 for ‘Golden Slipper-Magic Millions winner’ 

Gai Waterhouse is already looking towards next season’s lucrative juvenile prizes after she and co-trainer Adrian Bott secured a Silverdale Farm-consigned daughter of Not A Single Doubt for $750,000 midway through yesterday’s session. 

“At the moment I think she’s the Golden Slipper-Magic Millions winner. She just took our attention from the moment we saw her on the farm up in the Highlands of NSW,” Waterhouse said of Lot 705, the fourth living foal out of the eight-time winner Rhodamine (Success Express), making her a sister to the former Gerald Ryan-trained stakes-placed sprinter Legend Of Condor.

“She’s been on elevated ground, she’s got lovely scope and size and she’s just gone ahead since we saw her. We kept finding we were going back to her.”

Waterhouse and Bott signed for the filly alongside Kestrel Thoroughbreds’ Bruce Slade, who is assisting the stable as a consultant and in a business development capacity.

“It is great to have Bruce back. I plucked him, so to speak, from New Zealand when he was bid-spotting many years ago,” she said. 

“He worked with me, then he went on to work at Newgate Farm and he’s come back more mature and a lot more experienced. He’s a huge help to us.”

Yesterday’s sale was also another significant pinhook result for Silverdale Farm, which offered its first Magic Millions draft this year, with the Not A Single Doubt youngster capping off a massive auction for proprietor Steve Grant.

After selling a pinhooked Written Tycoon (Iglesia) colt for $625,000 on day one, Waterhouse, Bott and Slade provided a handsome return on Grant and agent Suman Hedge’s $280,000 investment last July.

The August-born filly was bred by James O’Brien’s Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm in Victoria and she sold at the Inglis Australian Weanling Sale. In total, Silverdale has sold five lots this week for $2.75 million at an average of $575,000.

In addition, Waterhouse, Bott and Slade have so far signed for 23 lots at an aggregate of $7,390,000, but the leading trainer was quick to emphasise the red-hot competition at the top end of the market, particularly for highly-touted colts. 

“It’s a very, very strong market. It’s very hard to secure anything. You have got to pick up the crumbs from the rich man’s table,” Waterhouse said. “The colts have been very expensive and we haven’t been able to do much there, so we have got to look at what we could afford for our owners.

“You only have to look over the past couple of days the prices being paid for horses indicates the market is very buoyant. It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg, you can’t have one without the other, so we as the trainers put together a group of people who may like to invest in a filly.

“A group of guys have come together on her (Lot 705). They want to race her, they want to have fun and they will certainly have it with her.” 

Of the catalogue overall, Waterhouse added: “The quality is very good. I have been looking at them for a few months and this is the best catalogue they’ve ever assembled. It is excellent.” 

‘We raised the bar higher at the start of the week and it’s continued all the way through’ 

Reflecting on yesterday’s record-breaking session, Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch said: “It was a great end to the day, wasn’t it? From my perspective, we thought it would be an achievement to hold the average and hold the clearance rate today, and we’ve done that.

“We raised the bar higher at the start of the week and it’s continued all the way through. To have the depth in the market late today and eclipse last year’s Book 1 gross by a significant margin so far is a thrill, when you consider we have got (tonight) to go.”

Sale statistics

2021 2020
Catalogued 870 888
Offered 802 811
Sold 706 (88%) 709 (87%)
Aggregate $180,130,000 (+1.5%) $177,400,000
Average $255,142 (+2%) $250,221
Median $180,000 $180,000
Top Lot $1.9 million $1.9 million