A record-breaking largest ever Tattersalls December Foal Sale concluded in Newmarket last night with a 21,157,000 guineas turnover for 738 sold, up 23% on the amount yielded by 585 sold a year ago.
Last year's figures included a 1.8 million gns lot, accounting for over 10% of the sale total, so this year's 28,688gns average actually fell by 3%, although the 21% rise in median to 17,000gns was a more accurate reflection of the market. The 2003 clearance rate was 78.1% compared to 71.7% in 2002.
Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony commented:"All four of our yearling sales, starting with the Houghton and culminating with the December Yearling Sale on Monday, have broken new ground and they have had a major impact on the success of this week's foal sale.
"The turnover has broken the 20 million guineas barrier for the first time which in itself is a massive rise, but the real indicators have been the surge in the median and the higher clearance rate from the largest foal catalogue ever put together in Europe.
"The median shows the extraordinary depth to the market, and equally indicative has been the record number of lots breaking 50,000gns, 100,000gns and 200,000gns. The Irish pinhookers, as ever, have led the charge, but all week they have been up against strong domestic competition as well as buyers from throughout Europe and further afield.
"We have a strong catalogue of mares and fillies to come, and we can very definitely take encouragement from this week's proceedings."
Watership Down Stud was the week's top vendor, selling eight lots for 842,000gns, while Sheik Mohammed's agent John Ferguson headed the buyers' table after making an unprecedented nine foal purchases for 1.68 million gns.
Among those was yesterday's top lot, a 300,000gns French-bred Green Desert colt out of Solosole consigned by Marc de Chambure, Eric Puerari and Michel Zerolo's European Sales Management. BBA's Ireland's Adrian Nicoll was underbidder for the colt.
Danehill's penultimate foal crop included a daughter of Grail, a half-sister to top 2-year-old Three Valleys, consigned by New England Stud for the Countess de le Warr, who bred the filly in a foal share.
David and Diane Nagle's Barronstown Stud is likely to reconsign the filly to next year's Houghton Sale after paying 260,000gns.
The four-day breeding stock sale begins Monday at 9:30 a.m.