Just as at its three yearling sales in October, Tattersalls Autumn Horses In Training Sale--effectively the world's biggest exchange of used horses--posted a complete set of record figures in Newmarket from Oct. 27-30.
The four days grossed 15,389,700 guineas, a rise of 28% on last year, while the average of 20,250 guineas was up 25% and the median of 11,000 guineas was an increase of 10%.
There were 29 six-figure lots compared to 10 last year although the highest price of 230,000 guineas was the lowest sale-topper since 1999.
Among those 100,000 guineas-plus horses, significantly more than in previous years will be staying in Britain or Ireland. The breakdown is that 19 of the 29 will remain in training in Britain or Ireland to race on the flat or jumping with one filly, 2002 Cherry Hinton Stakes (Eng-III) winner Spinola, bought for breeding in Britain (for 140,000 guineas) by Chevington Stud.
Five of the remainder head to the U.S., three go to Hong Kong, one was bought to compete in Dubai while Xaar's brother Modus Vivendi was bought to stand at Craig Ramsay's Golden Acres Stud in South Africa.
U.S. trainers were over in force and those making six-figure purchases were Wally Dollase, Ben Cecil, Jim Cassidy, Mike Puhich, and Lisa Lewis, although an unfavorable exchange rate made things tougher this year.
"I'd say that because of the disparity with the dollar, the exchange rate is around 20% worse this year," said Dollase, who was the underbidder on a string of horses before paying 170,000 guineas for Juddmonte Farms' Salcombe through the McKeever St Lawrence agency.
Regular buyers such as Darrell Vienna and Ron Charles were both present although their spending did not quite reach the heights of previous years.
After spending more than 2 million euros on yearlings at Goffs, National Hunt trainer Howard Johnson--again acting principally for Sage software co-founded Graham Wylie--headed the buyers' list with 14 purchases for 1.2 million guineas while Juddmonte Farms led the vendor's table after selling 40 lots for 1.477 million guineas.
The sale was topped by group III placed 2-year-old Diosypros Blue, who is believed to be headed for the Far East after being bought for 230,000 guineas by flat jockey John Egan, acting for the Piero Co. Ltd. Egan, who formerly rode in Hong Kong, was unwilling to divulge plans for his purchase.
At the close of play, Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony said: "October 2003 has been a month to remember after four phenomenal Tattersalls sales in five weeks. The record books were rewritten at all three of our yearling sales and we have experienced similarly spectacular demand for the horses in training."
Many lots catalogued were bought privately before the sale and Mahony added: "As ever, withdrawals have regrettably been numerous, but this week's vendors have been richly rewarded for their faith not only in the sale but also in the process of public auction."