The opening day's headline for the Magic Millions national weanling sale on Australia's Gold Coast could very easily be set again for day two. It read "Weanling Rock of Gibraltar Colt Establishes National Mark". Upon reflection, this time around it should read "Weanling Rock of Gibraltar Colt Annihilates National Mark."
The big crowd on hand cheered when Aus$660,000 (approximately $505,000 in U.S. funds) was paid for the big, wonderfully-related Rock of Gibraltar colt from the group I-winning, blue hen mare Skating.
Tim Stakemire, like he has done for the past three years, bought the colt for his boss, Dubai billionaire Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum. It's the first time the Sheikh has instructed to buy a weanling and the move made everyone on hand ask why.
"Well, I think the Easter and Magic Millions yearling sales are just getting too expensive," said Stakemire. "We will NOT be selling this colt as a yearling, but if I did at Easter next year, he'd fetch Aus$1.2 million, so Aus$660,000 was pretty cheap really."
Bidding for the colt kicked off with a Aus$530,000 offer from Gary Mudgway, representing Emerald Thoroughbreds.
"I think they thought they would blow everyone away with one bid," Stakemire said, "but I had the boss on the phone in Dubai and he wanted him so I entered at $600,000."
Stakemire, positioned toward the back of the huge Magic Millions complex, made a $660,000 bid - an offer that was not bettered by any member of the captive audience. Mudgway was the underbidder.
"But I was out of bullets myself at $660,000," admitted Stakemire, who said the colt would be sent to Coolmore to grow out then be brought back in for breaking in May of next year.
"He was an absolutely cracking colt," Stakemire said while signing for the weanling. "He was the pick of the sale -- a real stand out and his mother goes so well with the sons of Danehill."
His dam Skating (by At Talaq) was a multiple group I winner. Since retiring to stud she's established herself as one of the star broodmares of Australia. From six foals to race, her five winners are all black type performers and include reigning Magic Millions 2-year-old Classic winner Bradbury's Luck -- himself a son of a son of Danehill.
Magic Millions, acting as agent for an unnamed client, was caught up in the Rock of Gibraltar enthusiasm and went to Aus$210,000 for another one of his, this time a filly from Incommunicado (by Sadler's Wells). The dam has had runners by Peintre Celebre and Stravinsky to date, but is yet to produce any quality.
Coolmore's vast array of stallion power was again well received when a Johannesburg colt from the gloriously-related mare Prickly Problem fetched Aus$125,000. KP Thoroughbreds, based in Victoria, bought this brown colt whose close relations number Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Bounding Basque and multiple graded stakes winner El Basco.
Another one of Coolmore's -- the much vaunted new stallion Choisir -- had two sell late in the session for Aus$100,000 and Aus$130,000. The latter, a very muscular early born colt from the Marscay mare Hayden Clan, looks set to be a sprinter and is a half-brother to group II winner Never Blue. Starcrest Thoroughbreds in Queensland bought him. Choisir was standing for Aus$33,000 when these were conceived.
Reigning Aussie superstar Redoute's Choice was also in vogue when his son from the unraced Nureyev mare Russian Flair reached Aus$235,000. This is a strong European family with Russian Flair's dam winning in Ireland as a 2-year-old and reaching stakes-placed status.
Vinery's More Than Ready
continued to hold his ground when one of his sons fetched Aus$100,000. He was from the mare Lupenta (by Danehill). Vinery sold the impressive colt to Richard Johnston who bought four weanlings during Sunday's opening day. He was at it again about an hour later by yet another More Than Ready colt this time for Aus $140,000. The dam this time was the locally-bred and tough Forest Glow mare Forest Bronze who was a multiple city winner.
This Magic Millions Weanling Sale shattered all records. It grossed Aus$10,071,400 (U.S.$7,07,400,000). The average was Aus$25,369, and the clearance rate was 91.7%.
Last year, the same sale's aggregate was Aus$4,569,800.