The three-day premier yearling sale conducted by New Zealand Bloodstock that ended today saw a decline in both gross and average from a year ago.There were 359 yearlings sold at the Karaka complex for NZ$34,209,500 (U.S.$18,712,596), down 8.7% from the gross in 2002. The group sold this year averaged NZ$95,291 (U.S.$52,124), which was down 7.4% from last year's record average of NZ$102,935.Nineteen percent of those that went through the ring failed to sell.The median did show an increase of 7.4%, climbing from NZ$62,500 to NZ$67,500."We had very conservative expectations about what could be achieved in the market right now," said New Zealand Bloodstock's marketing manager Julia Naismith."The huge results on Monday night were a particularly pleasant surprise and while the following two sessions were not quite as buoyant we are happy and we certainly regard our 2003 premier sale as a very sound success."The highest price occurred during today's second session, when Australian agent Keiran Moore paid NZ$660,000 (U.S.$362,809) for a Japanese client for a filly by Zabeel out of the L'Enjoleur mare L'Quiz. The filly, sold by Cambridge Stud, is a full sister to group I winners Champagne and St. Reims. Champagne was a group I winner in Australia while St. Reims is a top 3-year-old in New Zealand this year. She won the group I New Zealand Derby in December.Of the sale's top 11 prices, six were by Zabeel.The leading buyer was trainer Graeme Rogerson, who purchased 19 head for $2,720,500.