Turnover at the 77th New Zealand yearling sale series closed at $47,235,200 (US$25,983,139) for 970 head and experienced a significant drop in the lower end of the market.It left receipts for eight days of selling down 14% on the previous year. In 2002 the eight-day series saw 1,169 head cleared at almost $55 million (about US$30,254,000). Against the loss in trade the series average grew $1,754 or 3.7% to $48,696 (US$26,787). The median also grew by $5,000 to $30,000 (US$16,500). It advanced to $70,000 (US$38,500) for the Premier auction as it chased a $95,261 (US$52,401) average.The median held steady at the second-tier Select sales which averaged $29,260 for the colts and just under $26,000 for the fillies.The two-session Festival sale completed proceedings with a harder sell of 204 head at an average $7,954 (down 18%) and median reduced by $500 to $5,500. The third-tier sale gross of $1.6 million was half of that returned the previous year.Series high of $660,000 (US$363,053) for a sister to group I winners, Champagne and St. Reims (Zabeel-L'Quiz by L'Enjoleur), was the lowest in six years. But the main sale's middle market was strong despite record numbers of progeny by freshmen sires - 178 or 36.6% of the 485 in the Premier catalogue.Auctioneers, New Zealand Bloodstock declared its pre-sale prediction of an extensive buying bench, but one sporting more conservative budgets, was fulfilled.In its sales summary press release, Julia Naismith, NZB's bloodstock and marketing manager, described the result as satisfactory in a less than ideal global economic environment.Naismith stressed the importance of recognizing that attaining RNAs of less than 17% at the Premier sale, while introducing the first ever yearling X-ray repository at a New Zealand yearling auction, was "a remarkable achievement."