Lee Fleming, owner of Eliza Park Stud in Victoria, was the star attraction as day two of the Magic Millions yearling sale on the Gold Coast in Australia concluded Friday. His star billing was mainly due to the impressive colt he bred and sold—a big lump of a thing by Encosta de Lago (same sire as Alinghi) from the Golden Slipper (Aus-I) placegetter Millrich (by Rubiton), which was bought by trainer Robbie Laing.
Fleming had a reserve of Aus$250,000 on his colt. At Aus$500,000 a wry smile formed on his face and by Aus$725,000, he nearly did a jig to leave the buyer's box. It was the sale topper on the day and marginally beat out the Kitchwin Hills Danehill Dancer—Piper star colt which reached Aus$720,000 to the bid of Charles Laird from South Africa. He bettered Demi O'Byrne, who really wanted the colt.
But Fleming didn't care. His money was all but banked as Laing told him he had no intention of getting an X-ray or any other advice. He wanted what he saw and was more than happy to pay for the privilege of owning the colt.
"I will keep 10% of the colt and Robbie and I have already agreed to standing rights at Eliza Park should he develop into a stallion," said Fleming.
Laing last year went to Aus$500,000 for this colt's half-brother. He was by Danehill and is already a stakes earner.
"Robbie said he's a superstar and will be a 2-year-old sensation when he returns to racing," said Fleming. The 2-year-old's name is Danerich.
Fleming, who has never dabbled at this end of the breeding pool before, has owned Eliza Park for eight years. He stands a handful of stallions, namely Bel Esprit and Delago Brom. And business is good. This, however, is a godsend.
"I remember I bought Millrich off my father who had bought her shortly after finishing racing," remembered Fleming. "I was sitting with him at the table when she came in, he bought her for Aus$165,000, and I turned to him and said that she was just the type of mare I'd like for my new farm. He immediately sold her to me at the table for the same price. I had not bought a mare for that much before, but I am so glad I did.
"A $500,000 colt which I also kept a 10% share in and who is already good enough to stand at my farm, and now $725,000. I can't believe this luck," added Fleming whose father owned and bred the Keeneland September sale's most expensive yearling filly, a $3.8-million daughter of Storm Cat that is currently in work in Ireland at Aidan O'Brien's Ballydoyle.
Jim Fleming, the father, was very quick to point out he had bought Millrich for his son all those years ago.
Demi O'Byrne, who was underbidder on the Danehill Dancer colt, was top bidder on Fusaichi Pegasus ' colt from the mare Natural Is My Name (Naturalism—Singles Bar) who was very fast and stakes-placed along with her five wins. O'Byrne beat out Gai Waterhouse, stopping the bidding at Aus$450,000, a price that was about half had this glorious athlete been offered last year. Fu Peg isn't the hottest thing down in Australia at present, but this colt, the second from the mare whose pedigree is chock full of superior Aussie speed influences, was simply stunning.
In all, 164 horses were sold during the session for a gross of Aus$23,322,500 and an average of Aus$142,210.
Day three continues as an evening session on Saturday night after the running of the Aus$1 million Magic Millions 2-year-old Classic and the Aus$ 1million Magic Millions 3-year-old Classic. Both races are restricted to graduates of previous Magic Millions sales.