Hip 327, by Deep Impact out of Sky Diva

Hip 327, by Deep Impact out of Sky Diva

Naoji Inada

JRHA Auction Has Highest Gross Since 2007

The two-day sale produced increases of 12.2% in gross and 11% in average.

The Japan Race Horse Association reported gains for its select sale, which was held July 9-10 at the Northern Horse Park in Hokkaido.

The gross for the two days was ¥10,296,300,000 ($129,700,821), up 12.2% from 2011 and the first time the gross topped ¥10 billion since 2007, officials said. The average of ¥28,600,833 ($360,280) was 11% higher than 2011, while the clearance rate of 74.9% improved from 73.2% last year.

The gross for the foal session was ¥4,843,700,000 ($61,015,303), up 8.9% from 2011. The average of ¥30,656,329 ($386,172) increased 11% from last year.

"This is obviously a better market than everybody expected," JRHA vice chairman Teruya Yoshida said. "As a lot of new players joined the market, the buyers had depth, and it created a consistent market. The horse sale could have been up and down during one day, but the market was solid throughout."

Yoshida dismissed rumors the JRHA may sell more yearlings and fewer foals at future sales.

"After seeing such an active foal market, we cannot find any reason to have smaller foal catalog next year," he said.

The foal portion of the auction was topped by a colt by Deep Impact out of Sky Diva, winner of the Frizette Stakes (gr. I). He was purchased by Hajime Satomi, chief executive officer of Sega Sammy Group, for ¥250,000,000 ($3,137,880).

"I felt he was surrounded by aura, when I saw him at Northern Farm," Satomi said. "He is very well-balanced, and I am dreaming of the Derby with him now. I thought someone else might pay 300 million yen for him."

Yasutoshi Ikee, who trains Orfevre, the Triple Crown winner in Japan in 2011, could end up training the colt. His father, Yasuo Ikee, was a member of the inspection team for Satomi.

"I think he is outstanding individual in this year's foal catalog," Yasutoshi Ikee said. "He has everything, and I do hope Mr. Satomi will not change his mind (about the trainer)."

Paul Fudge purchased a Deep Impact filly for ¥145,000,000 ($1,826,541) and said he expects her to be the "cornerstone" of his operation. The filly, consigned by Paca Paca Farm, is a full sister to Japanese Derby (Jpn-I) winner Deep Brilliante.

"She has perfect conformation," Fudge said. "She was a bit more expensive than I thought, but I did not hesitate to keep bidding, as I understand she is very valuable as future broodmare.

"I have not decided yet where she is going to run. I may ship her to Europe or may keep her in Japan."