The New Zealand Bloodstock premier yearling sale at Karaka ended Jan. 28 with a new leading consignor, but the headline grabber was sire Fastnet Rock.
Coolmore shuttler Fastnet Rock accounted for the four highest-priced horses at the sale, topped by Cambridge Stud's son out of New Zealand champion and dual classic winner Katie Lee, who sold on day one for $800,000 (US$659,499). His daughter out of Miss Scarlatti was the sale's most expensive filly and second-highest price horse at $700,000 ($575,594), and that price was matched on closing day by his session-topping son out of the Kentucky-bred Gone West mare Beyond the Sunset, who sold to David Ellis of Te Akau Racing.
The colt, offered by Pencarrow Stud, is a half brother to four-time New Zealand group II winner Te Akau Coup and a three-quarter brother to stakes winner Don Garcia.
"He is one of the most stunning horses that you would see in the world; you wouldn't find a better looking horse," said Ellis, who for the ninth time was the sale's leading buyer, purchasing 35 yearlings for $6,420,000 ($5,303,672). "I've bought two out of the mare already and both of them have been stakes performers and this colt looks even better than those two."
While perennial leading consignor Cambridge Stud sold the sale topper, the Chittick family's Waikato Stud topped the consignor list for the first time, selling 46 horses for $7,655,000 ($6,330,530). Cambridge Stud was second with 34 sold for $6,345,000 ($5,247,589).
There were 326 horses to change hands over the two-day auction for total receipts of $47,122,500 ($39,003,217), marking a 7.7% decrease from last year's sale when 323 horses sold.
Petrea Vela, co-managing director of New Zealand Bloodstock, described the market as bouyant but said the strong New Zealand dollar was a factor for some international buyers.
About 39% of the turnover came from buyers from Australia, where the dollar is weaker.
"Talking to buyers it seems the only adverse factor is our strong dollar," Vela said, "but fortunately that doesn't affect the quality of the horses they're purchasing, so hopefully they'll be just as well rewarded by their Karaka racehorses as ever."
The average price $144,548 ($119,642) dipped 8.5% and the median price of $110,000 ($91,050) slipped 8.3%.
The clearance rate was 78%, compared with 79% at the 2013 sale.
"There has been plenty of competition on the good horses," Ellis noted. "It doesn't matter what the market is doing, buyers come out of the woodwork when there is a good horse. The market heated up a lot today, which makes the horses we bought yesterday look like very good buys."
Fastnet Rock was the sale's leading sire, with 16 horses sold for $5,635,000 ($4,660,563), an average $352,188 ($291,020).
Rip Van Winkle topped the freshman sires list, with an average price of $132,500 ($109,439) for 28 horses sold, just ahead of Makfi with an average of $115,909 ($95,736) for 11 sold.
The New Zealand Bloodstock National Sales Series continues Jan. 29 with the first session of the three-day select sale.