It took eight and a half hours, or if you like 276 hips, before the world of weanling selling in the Southern Hemisphere changed forever.
That was when Tom Magnier, the son of Coolmore managing partner John Magnier, decided to buy a horse for his father on opening day of the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale on the Gold Coast in Australia, Wednesday. And he spent a Southern Hemisphere weanling record of Aust$1,150,000 (U.S. $943,000) on a big, hulking, 8-month-old son of Redoute’s Choice from the group I producer Gypsy Dancer (by Dance Floor).
It helped that the colt was a half brother to one of the greatest 2-year-olds Australia has produced in the past 45 years – multiple group I winner Dance Hero (by Danzero), who has won thus far Aust$3,910,800 in stakes.
“We haven’t decided what we will do with him just yet,” said Tom Magnier. “Dad wanted him so I bought him. He has a stallion’s pedigree no doubt, but he may fetch double this at the January yearling sale – we just haven’t made up our minds on him yet.”
Magnier joined in the bidding near the end after several farms, including Darley, were on the colt, which was consigned by Vinery Stud.
“When bidding started at Aust$800,000, and it was genuine bidding too, we knew there was going to be fireworks,” said Vinery Australia’s general manager Peter Orton. “But none of us, including the colt’s owner, thought he’d climb that high. It is a great, great boost for the farm following Tommy (Simon’s) selling off two years ago. He did that to refocus and things are starting to now really take off.”
The colt’s owner is self made millionaire builder Tony Akari, who was sweating profusely and puffing deeply on his cigar moments after the sale.
“Horses like this colt’s mother come along once in a lifetime and they change your life,” he said. “I am just so very happy she came my way.”
And the story behind her arrival in his hands is extraordinary.
Akari had bought a low-key mare for a handful of dollars back in 1997. It was his first ever foray into Thoroughbreds and he sent her to Danzero, who at the time stood for Aust$12,500.
“But she died in foal so I immediately went out and bought a mare in foal to Danzero to replace her,” Akari said. “That mare cost me Aust$15,000 and it was Gypsy Dancer. I sold her colt for Aust$90,000 and he turned out to be Dance Hero, then I kept the next three filly foals. But I felt this was the perfect time to sell her latest colt as I thought he’d sell well. And if I had hung on until he was a yearling, who knows what may have happened. Plus, there would have been commission to pay on his sale as a yearling. At this weanling sale, there was no commission!”
Akari is also selling Gypsy Dancer at the broodmare sale next week and expects yet another home run.
“She is in foal to Redoute’s Choice again and I expect even more for her – I think Aust$1.5 million would be a fair result after this,” he said.
The stunning 11th hour record highlighted a very strong weanling sale. Redoute’s Choice averaged Aust$808,000 for his two offspring sold with Elusive Quality next best at Aust$222,500. Earlier in the day, a filly was consigned by Scone’s Sefton Park (as agent) and purchased for Aust$460,000 by prominent New Zealand businessman Don Ha. It was the second-highest price of the day. The filly is by Redoute’s Choice and out of Donna Dior.
Ha signed under his Manaukau Bloodstock Ltd banner for her. He first made a name for himself in New Zealand earlier this year by purchasing a number of high-priced horses, including the Zabeel -- Sunline colt for NZ$2 million at Karaka.
An enterprise named Impressive Racing Pty. Ltd. Paid the session's third-highest price of Aust$270,000 for a Red Ransom--Riverina colt offered by Newhaven Park Stud (as agent).
The sale continues on Thursday.
SESSION ONE STATISTICS
(2006 in brackets)
Lots Sold: 215 (158)
Gross: $11,057,000 ($6,163,300)
Average Price: $51,428 ($39,008)