Huge Gains Noted for Doncaster St Leger Sale

Britain's yearling sales season began on a buoyant note when the Doncaster St Leger Sale -- held a week earlier than usual -- broke all previous records.

The three-day sale, Aug. 29 to 31, grossed 14,214,000 guineas for the 442 selling from the 486 offered, an increase of 31.5% on 2005. The 31,258 guineas average was up 30%, while the 25,000 guineas showed an advance of 25%.

A 275,000 guineas filly by leading first-season sire Invincible Spirit surpassed the 3-year old 250,000 guineas sale record when selling to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's racing manager Angus Gold.

Joe Foley's Co Carlow-based Ballyhane Stud consigned the filly, previously bought by a client for 72,000 euros at Goffs in November as a foal. Patrick Jones bred her.

There were a total of 14 six-figure lots compared to four at the 2005 sale. Others included Jim's Boy, a 210,000 guineas Street Cry colt who was John Ferguson's sole purchase. The Kentucky-bred colt, out of Ella Eria, had been bought for $140,000 at last year's Keeneland November Sale by Overseas Equine.

Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Estates made a total of 13 purchases and there was no visible change to the Maktoum family's apparent boycott of Coolmore stallions.

The St Leger Sale moved from its traditional race week slot while Doncaster racecourse was closed for redevelopment but the change could be permanent, particularly as it enables the Keeneland September-bound buyers to attend. A second sale in St Leger week is also being considered.

"It would be rash to make a knee-jerk decision but these three days appeared to have had a universal thumbs up," said Doncaster's managing director Henry Beeby. "We will certainly consider continuing on these days in the future as so many major buyers, who would normally either be about to leave for America or already be there (depending how the dates fall) can work the sale properly,"

Germany's BBAG Yearling Sale on Sept. 1 and 2 in Baden Baden also showed increases on 2005. The sale turnover of 7,874,400 euros was up 7.3% while the 36,465 euros average rose by 9.3%. The 35,862 euros median increased by 11.1% per cent. However, the clearance rate fell from 87% in 2005 to 81.2%.

Gestut Etzean consigned the top lot, a colt by Monsun out of Finora. Dirk Eisele of BBA Germany paid 200,000 euros for the colt.

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