L'Agence Francaise president Phillipe Augier blamed buyers' selectivity and reduced home-based demand for a drop in figures at the Deauville, France company's flagship August yearling sale which took place Aug. 21-24.
Turnover fell 19.7% to 22,865,000 euros for a reduced catalogue while the average of 70,353 euros was down 7.9%.
The top price of 580,000 euros was the lowest since selling switched to euros in 2002 while only five lots made more than 300,000 euros, compared to 14 in 2004.
"It was a difficult market due to the selectivity of buyers," Augier commented. "There were, however, some points of satisfaction. There were numerous foreign buyers present from all over the world, many of whom stayed to the final day of the sale. On the other hand it was disappointing to see the fall in the domestic demand and all of those involved in racing in France need to work to reverse this trend."
It was a well-related filly by sire of the moment Montjeu who hit 580,000 euros when sold by one County Wicklow breeder, former British Horseracing Board chairman Peter Savill, to another, American Rick Barnes, who has set up Grangecon Stud.
But the filly, bought through Barnes' agent Hubie de Burgh, will remain in France and go into training with Richard Gibson at Chantilly. She is a daughter of the Riverman mare Valley Of Hope.
"This filly could not be faulted," said de Burgh. "She has a fantastic pedigree and is by a hot sire and all the vets unanimously said she was perfect."