Big Week of Sales Concludes at Karaka

Overall numbers were down in three core economic indicators.

The yearling sales market at Karaka declined 6.4% to $72,387,700 ($61,248,468 U.S.) in total sales during New Zealand Bloodstock's marathon week of trading that concluded Feb. 4 with the final session of the Festival sale.

With the world economic situation continuing to be a factor, average and median prices also tilted downward, but sales officials were pleased with the overall results of the seven-day National yearling sales series that also included premier and select sales.

Overall, 1,021 horses sold at an average price of $70,899 ($60,002 U.S.), a 9.7% decline from last year. Median was off 15.8% at $40,000 ($33,858 U.S.), but the clearance rate remained steady at 75%.

"It has been a big week of selling, and with some apprehension leading into sales week there's a sense of relief about how the market has performed and the results achieved given the economic challenges both here and overseas," said Petrea Vela, co-managing director of New Zealand Bloodstock.

"The crowds and activity at Karaka have been very buoyant right up until the rain came on the last day, and there has been good competition for good horses across every session. We would have liked to have seen a bit more firepower from our domestic market but the slight increase from last year is encouraging."

For the third consecutive session, a colt by Westbury Stud first-season sire Swiss Ace provided the top price of the day. The youngster out of the winning Stravinsky mare Poetic Music sold for $95,000 ($80,456 U.S.) to Rogerson Bloodstock at the closing session of the Festival sale Feb. 4.

"I think that by next year I'll have to go to the premier sale to buy yearlings by Swiss Ace," said Graeme Rogerson, who secured the session-topping colt the previous day when going to a Festival record price of $125,000 ($105,663 U.S.) for a Swiss Ace colt out of the Hussonet mare Eclaircissement.

"I have backed him with my purchases in the sale and I think he's going to make it as a sire," he said. "Overall I think good horses sell well and they have here at Karaka this week."

The top-priced horse during the week was a Fastnet Rock colt bought by Coolmore's Tom Magnier for $1,975,500 ($1,637,550 U.S.) on opening day of the premier sale Jan. 28. The half brother to Australian group I winner Gathering was offered by Curraghmore Stud on behalf of breeder Fairway Thoroughbreds. The Australian-bred bay colt is out of the winning Peintre Celebre mare Celebria.

For complete sales results, visit