By Ric ChapmanThere was much activity by buyers from Macau and Korea at today's Ready-To-Run sale in New Zealand. These buyers have dipped into the market previously but have come back a lot stronger this year, mostly because of their recent successes with New Zealand breds. There was also activity from Australian, Singapore, and Hong Kong buyers.A solid select session saw strong demand for quality horses with the gross increasing by more than $1 million for 17 fewer lots sold ($7,700,500 for 127 lots sold; $6,400,000 for 141 lots sold last year).The select session average increased by more than $8,000 from 2003, with fillies recording a significant increase in average from $39,184 last year to $47,833 (U.S. $33,500).The leading buyer by gross was Tommy Cheung, a leading owner from Macau. He has bought at Karaka previously but made a notable impact at this year's sale. His purchases included a colt by Stravinsky from the group winning Zabeel mare Crimson, for $140,000 (U.S. $98,000). The second leading buyer was Chang Sig Kim of United Bloodstock. Kim is at Karaka with a group from Korea, including leading trainers from Seoul. Kim purchased seven lots for $411,000, the most significant buying activity seen at Karaka from the Korean market both in terms of quantity and prices of the horses purchased. Other active buyers included leading Singapore trainer Laurie Laxon, with eight purchases, and former champion Australian jockey Mick Dittman with six purchases. Paul Beamish Bloodstock bought the top lot of the day, by Cape Cross -- Gardenia, by Danehill, a full brother to the promising stakes winner Florilegium for $290,000 (U.S. $203,000). The second top lot went to Rogerson Bloodstock with one bid for $250,000, by Redoute's Choice -- Foxtrot, by Rory's Jester.The open session will be held Wednesday.