By Ric Chapman
As day three of this truly unbelievable Australian Easter sale concluded Thursday, statisticians reflected on a sire's performance that was unprecedented in this part of the world.
In just his third offering of yearlings, Redoute's Choice rewrote every record book ever established by a sire. He had an aggregate total of Aus$21,410,000 (U.S.$16,570,000) for an average of Aus$611,714 (U.S.$473,401). He also had more millionaires sell than ANY stallion ever before. He had six of them and three others in the Aus$900,000 range. It was the most dominant performance ever seen by a horse in the Southern Hemisphere.
On day three, the crowd's appetite was met by two sons of Redoute's Choice breaching the big mark early on in the day. Darley, desperate to snare a homegrown baby stallion, bought the close relative to former champion Hong Kong galloper Fairy King Prawn for Aus$1.1million (U.S.$851,857).
"We are absolutely delighted with this horse," said Darley's Australian general manager Oliver Tait. "It is a family tree we have been trying to buy into for some time, and this is a stunning colt. Plus, he has the Redoute's factor which is obviously of great appeal."
So was the horse. The colt's dam is the unraced Dora Maar (by Royal Academy
). She is a half-sister to Fairy King Prawn and Easy Rocking, who is now a young sire in Australia, and both were both group I winners.
The other million-dollar Redoute's went to the bid of Trevor Lobb for Woodlands Stud, whose buying spree ended with 17 at a cost of Aus$9.1 million (U.S.$7,045,700).
"He's another stallion hope and as we needed to rebuild our stock and change our direction, this is the year to do it," Lobb said.
This colt, from the mare Eldarin, fetched Aus$1.1million. He's got a number of quality black-type gallopers in his pedigree, but the standout is his grandmother's sister Tambour. She has given Australia the superstar multiple group I winner and Aus$5 million (U.S.$3.1 million) earner Grand Armee.
Champion trainer Lee Freedman, whose champion filly Alinghi is set to race in the U.S. in May, bought the only non Redoute's Choice yearling to make an impact on the third day, that being a very large, well-topped, athletic son of the English Derby (Eng-I) winner Galileo. Purchased for Aus$1 million, the colt was produced from the Success Express blue hen mare Express a Smile, who is the dam of one of Freedman's star young stakes winners, Oratorio (by Stravinsky
But all that, which in any other year would have set all tongues wagging, just set us up for the second last lot of the sale -- yet another Redoute's Choice youngster from the French placed Mr. Prospector mare Luanda. The pedigree here is all European and unmistakably good, but being so foreign and this being the non-winning mare's first foal, well, the price caught everyone by surprise as he climbed to Aus$1.4 million (U.S.$1,083,600).
Trainer Gerald Ryan, buying for popular owner Damian Flower won the battle to secure him. Flower owns one of Australia's premier 2-year-olds in Snitzel, also with Ryan and also by Redoute's Choice.
There were two Danehills, the last ever sold in Australia, to be offered on this day, with the highest-priced falling to renowned good judge Vin Cox for Aus$525,000 (U.S.$406,415) from the mare Gazette (by Zafonic).
"All this Redoute's stuff doesn't mean these other horses have lost their legs," quipped Cox who was chuffed at only paying that much. "This is a Danehill after all with a great pedigree and residual value."
Silent Witness' half-sister by Encosta de Lago went for Aus$480,000 to the bid of champion trainer Bart Cummings.
The pass-in rate of the sale, which was conducted by William Ingis & Son, was the only concern at 30%, but the overall aggregate of Aus$90,528,000 (U.S.$70,418,000) for the 436 horses sold was way up on last year's record of Aus$74,477,500 (U.S.$57,417,000). It was a sale to end all Australian sales and the final average was Aus$207,633 - another record.