(Edited New Zealand Bloodstock press release)
The New Zealand national yearling auction is trailing behind last year’s pace after the opening day in Karaka Jan. 26.
During the first session of the sale’s premier portion, the 173 horses that sold grossed NZ$25,973,500 (approximately $13,752,189 in U.S. funds) and averaged NZ$150,136 ($79,493). The median price was NZ$100,000 ($52,947).
Compared to the results for the entire premier portion of the auction in 2008, the average fell 24.7% while the median declined 33.3%. The clearance rate dropped from 86% last year to 73% this year.
"Before the sale began today the general expectation was that, given the current economic environment and the record-breaking sale last year, if we could produce something close to the 2007 figures, then the sales would be deemed a success,” said Petrea Vela, the managing director of sales and marketing for New Zealand Bloodstock, which conducts the auction. “So far, we're on target for that to be the case so we're pleased with how it has started. By all accounts it's hard to buy a good horse, with buyers selective in their purchasing but strong competition on the desirable lots. We'd like the clearance rate to improve a bit, but with vendors realistic in their expectations we'd expect to see that as the premier session progresses."
An Encosta de Lago colt topped this year’s opening session, bringing NZ$800,000 ($423,576). Offered by Lyndhurst Farm, the colt out of the four-time group I-winning Giovana (by Blues Traveller) was purchased by trainer Lance Noble and his wife, Leigh.
"We're really chuffed to have secured him,” Lance Noble said. “He's a magnificent colt, and I think we were lucky to get him for that price. I've got a great group of backers, and once we've tidied up the last shares we'll get together and map out a plan for him.”
The most active buyers were David Ellis of Te Akau Racing, with seven horses purchased for $2,265,000, and the Hong Kong Jockey Club with 11 purchases for $1,935,000.
According to Mark Player, who represented the Hong Kong Jockey Club it was a competitive market at Karaka.
"When we were inspecting horses on the sales grounds before selling started there was a general feeling that the quality here is up on last year, and as we're buying it's proving to be a strong sale,” he said. "There's very competitive bidding on the lots we're interested in and good horses are hard to buy. We're delighted with the eleven we've managed to secure so far."