After hotly contested bidding the two previous days pushed prized pedigrees to record prices, including a world record, Tattersalls posted European records in key financial indicators when its elite Book 1 sale concluded Oct. 10 in Newmarket.
Cumulative total receipts stood at an all-time high of 70,343,000 guineas (US$117,472,810) for 339 horses sold over three days, driving the average price to an unprecedented 207,501 guineas ($348,033).
The aggregate was up 3.3% compared with the Book 1 sale in 2012. Average price increased 27.3% and the median of 100,000 guineas ($167,726) over the three days rose 30%. The overall clearance rate was 75.3% compared with 81.7% last year, when 12.5% more horses were offered.
"I think this is one of the strongest horse sales I've ever been to, certainly in Europe and definitely since the banking crisis (in 2008)," bloodstock agent Tom Goff said.
Vying for the highly sought offspring of elite leading sire Galileo during the sale's first two days, Coolmore and the Al Thani family of Qatar drove prices sky-high for a colt and a filly, the former to a European record and the latter to a world record.
On opening day Oct. 8, Coolmore's M. V. Magnier prevailed over David Redvers and client Sheikh Fahad Al Thani of Pearl Bloodstock to land a full brother to Investec Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) runner-up Secret Gesture for 3.6 million guineas ($6,084,666), record price for a European auction yearling. He was consigned by Newsells Park Stud.
Sheikh Fahad's half brother Sheikh Joann Al Thani of Al Shaqab Racing went one better the next day, with representative Nicolas de Watrigant's Mandore International winning a bidding battle from John Magnier for a full sister to Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) winner Was at 5 million guineas ($8,443,575), a world record price for a filly. She was offered by Lodge Park Stud.
Galileo, who stands at Coolmore Stud in Ireland, was the sale's leading sire with 30 yearlings sold 18,120,000 guineas ($30,391,969), an average of 604,000 guineas ($1,013,066).
"To have broken the European record price for a yearling twice in two days and to have established a new world record for a yearling filly is a measure of the outstanding quality of the yearlings assembled for Book 1 of the 2013 Tattersalls October yearling sale," Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony said Oct. 10. "Our consignors yet again have brought yearlings of the highest caliber to Park Paddocks and for the third consecutive year, the average and median prices have reached new highs and the turnover has also bettered last year's record despite a significantly smaller catalogue.
"The bloodstock industry, like all others, has endured challenging times in recent years, but it has also shown remarkable resilience and the intense competition at the top of the market has demonstrated the enduring global demand for quality bloodstock. We have welcomed buyers this week from the established markets of Australia, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Japan, North America, South Africa, Turkey and the (United Arab Emirates), all of whom have made major contributions, and we have also been encouraged by the level of participation from emerging markets.
"Chinese and Russian interests have made a significant contribution to the success of the sale and the already considerable Qatari influence has been remarkable. It is wonderful to see relatively new participants embracing the sport with such enthusiasm and it has been a pleasure to see them, and so many of the world's leading racehorse owners here at Tattersalls throughout the sale."
The sale's leading buyer by aggregate was John Ferguson, who is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's bloodstock adviser. He spent 10,450,000 guineas ($17,527,377) for 42 horses, just edging Sheikh Joaan, who spent 10,260,000 guineas ($17,208,698) for 16 horses, including the world record-priced Galileo filly.
The top two consignors by aggregate were Newsells Park, which sold 16 horses for 7,215,000 guineas ($12,101,438), and Highclere Stud, which sold 27 for 6,737,000 guineas ($11,299,707).
Juddmonte sire Oasis Dream ranked second on the sires' list, with 11 horses sold for 4,575,000 guineas ($7,673,469) at an average price of 415,909 guineas ($697,588). Coolmore's Montjeu, who died last year, was third with 10 sold for 3,140,000 guineas ($5,266,599), an average of 314,000 ($526,660).
Bloodstock agent Charles Gordon-Watson landed the highest priced horse on day three, going to 850,000 guineas ($1,425,672) for an unnamed client to secure an Oasis Dream colt, the first foal out of multiple group I winner Dar Re Mi, by Singspiel. He is from the family of 21 group I winners.
"He's got a stallion's pedigree through and through; it's the best pedigree in the book, he's a special horse," Gordon-Watson said of the colt, who was offered by breeder Andrew and Madeleine Lloyd Webber's Watership Down.
"He's for a relatively new client, and I don't know where he'll be trained—hopefully, he'll stay in the (United Kingdom)."
Gordon-Watson is well-acquainted with the family, having bought second dam Darara, now deceased, for Watership Down. The half sister to French classic winner and leading French sire Darshaan subsequently produced four group I winners, including Dar Re Mi, winner of the 2010 Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) and two other top-level events, and Hong Kong champion River Dancer, who previously held the European record price for a yearling at 3.4 million guineas until the Galileo colt on day one deposed him
M. V. Magnier went to the day's second-highest price of 775,000 guineas ($1,299,877) for a Galileo half sister to 2012 Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) winner Power, by Oasis Dream.
Lofts Hall Stud consigned the bay filly, who was bred in Great Britain by Norelands and Hugo Lascelles. She is out of the winning Inchinor mare Frappe, a half sister to 2005 Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) winner and sire Footstepsinthesand and Irish group I winner Pedro the Great.
Buying at Tattersalls for the first time this week was China Horse Club, a racing and breeding organization based in Hohhot, about an hour from Beijing. The group purchased five yearlings, four in partnership with Coolmore Stud.
"We are step by step building the industry in China and had our first major international race meeting in September in association with the China Equine Cultural Fair," said Ed Harrington of China Horse Club. "We are completely developing our site as well as the infrastructure and have partnered with Coolmore. We have fantastic relationship with Coolmore and John Magnier completely redefined this industry and we are in a wonderful position to take advantage of that vision."
Buying through their bloodstock adviser, John Warren, the group went to 650,000 guineas ($1,090,220) for a Montjeu colt out of the winning Woodman mare First Breeze, a half sister to U.S. grade I winner Twilight Agenda from the family of English classic winner and sire Refuse To Bend, U.S. classic winner Go and Go, and 2002 Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) winner Media Puzzle.
The Tattersalls October yearling sale continues next week with Book 2 starting Oct. 14.