Japanese buyers spent more than $71 million on foals of 2005 in the Japan Racing Horse Association's two-day select sale held Monday and Tuesday at the Northern Horse Park near Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido.
Tuesday's session was not as strong as the opener, but prices were high enough for the eight-year-old sale to establish record gross revenue of ¥7,972,000,000 ($71,178,571) and the highest median price, ¥26 million ($232,143), since the first auction in 1998.
The gross, on the sale of 242 horses sold, was up 3.8% from last year, when 234 horses were reported as sold. The average inched up less than 1% from ¥32,829,060 in 2004 to ¥32,942,149 ($294,126) in 2005. The ¥26,000,000 ($232,143) median was 7.2% higher than last year's middle price of ¥24,250,000.
The buy-back rate this year was 19.9%, down from 24.0% in 2004 and the lowest ever.
The JRHA is a for-profit association that has 300 Japanese breeders as members. The company charges a 3% sales commission.
Teruya Yoshida, the vice chairman of the JRHA and operator of Shadai Farm, said next year's select sale will feature one day devoted to the sale of foals and one day for yearlings. Yearlings were sold at the JRHA's inaugural sale in 1998, but results were poor with a buy-back rate of 61.7%, and they were dropped the following year. Prior to the creation of the JRHA sale, most Japanese owners purchased their horses privately, usually as foals and sometimes while still in-utero. Yoshida and his brother, Katsumi, the owner of Northern Farm, wanted to make the selling process more open and using the same standards of other Thoroughbred auctions around the world.
Some breeders were slow to participate in the JRHA foal sale, though the encouraging results have convinced most of them to bring at least some of their top foals to the auction market. Many foals are still sold privately, however.
Teruya Yoshida said he has reserved many good foals for next year's yearling sale, making the increased prices at the just completed auction that much more impressive. Yoshida does have some concerns that other breeders will take a wait-and-see attitude before making a commitment to hold on to their young horses one year longer. He said he will not recommend expanding into the 2-year-olds in training market, however. "Pinhooking is not easy for us," he said.
This year's sale was topped by a Symboli Kris S colt selling on Monday for ¥210 million ($1,870,000). Tuesday's session topper was a colt from the first crop of North American 2-year-old champion Vindication
who brought a final bid of ¥190 million ($1,696,429). The colt, consigned by Northern Farm, is out of Roza Robata, a graded stakes winner by Fire Maker. He was purchased by Masahiro Noda, a Japanese software company executive who also made the purchase of Monday's sale topper. Katsumi Yoshida purchased Roza Robata while in foal to Vindication at the 2004 Keeneland November breeding stock sale for $550,000.
Another American-based sire whose first foals were born this year, Empire Maker
, also had one horse in the JRHA sale. The colt out of the Deputy Minister mare, Ms. Strike Zone, was purchased for ¥100 million ($892,857) by A.H.S. Inc from Shadai Farm. Ms. Strike Zone was purchased in foal at the same Keeneland sale by Teruya Yoshida for $850,000.
Leading sire by average (two or more sold) was the young Sunday Silence stallion Agnes Tachyon, who had 21 sell from 23 offered for an average price of ¥50,119,048 ($447,492). Agnes Tachyon, out of the Royal Ski mare Agnes Flora, stands for ¥6 million ($53,571). His first foals are two years old.Session 2 ResultsSale Totals