Fastnet Rock Colt Tops NZ Premier Sale

He brings NZ$1.75 million ($1,434,460 in U.S. funds).

The Karaka premier yearling sale in New Zealand ended its two-day run Jan. 31 with a seven-figure horse, but its gross revenue, average price, and median price all declined. Those results fell 17.4%, 11.5%, and 14.3%, respectively, from 2011.

A son of Fastnet Rock topped the auction, which was conducted by New Zealand Bloodstock. He commanded NZ$1.75 million ($1,434,460 in U.S. funds).

David Ellis of Te Akau Stud purchased the bay yearling, outlasting Coolmore Stud in the bidding battle by paying more than he had planned. The top price at last year’s edition of the auction was NZ$875,000.

“I did expect a high price for the colt and I thought I would get him for about Z$1.5 million ($1,229,540), but the others went beyond that,” Ellis said. “I wanted to secure him for the New Zealand racing and breeding industry; it is essential that we retain horses like this in New Zealand. He is an outstanding individual and the fact that he’s by such a great sire (and) out of a Nureyev mare gives him the potential to win group I races.”

The colt’s winning dam, Nureyev's Girl, finished third in the 2004 Stuart Crystal Stakes in Australia. He is a half brother to King’s Rose (by Redoute's Choice), who captured the 2010 New Zealand Bloodstock New Zealand One Thousand Guineas (NZ-I) and was a group II winner last year in Australia.

Patrick Hogan’s Cambridge Stud consigned the yearling.

“He is already 90% sold with the remaining 10% to be sold this week, and I don’t think that will be difficult to do,” said Ellis of his plans for the colt. “He will be trained by Jason Bridgman with a racing campaign intended to maximize his stud potential. If he’s as good as his (half) sister (King’s Rose), we will be very happy.”

Ellis was the auction’s biggest spender, paying NZ$6,262,500 ($5,133,310) for 27 horses.

“I think it has been a very successful sale, with terrific competition on the real athletes. We found it difficult to buy the good horses and think it has been a very successful two days," Ellis said. "To achieve that in a recession reflects very highly on the New Zealand industry. New Zealand Bloodstock, in my opinion, can take great heart that even in very difficult economic times, horses have still sold well to a huge international buying bench."

The results for the sale included a gross of NZ$54,137,000 ($44,375,600) for the 350 yearlings that were sold. The average was NZ$154,677 ($126,787) and the median was NZ$120,000 ($98,363).

New Zealand Bloodstock reported that the clearance rate was 74%, down from 79% in 2011.

"We were very pleased to see the market strengthen from yesterday, with a number of the better pedigreed horses coming through the ring today,” said Petrea Vela, co-managing director of New Zealand Bloodstock. “We have been thrilled with the buyer turnout at Karaka and there was plenty of good competition on the appealing lots. It's disappointing not to have been able to get the clearance rate up a bit higher, but hopefully over the course of the next couple of days there'll be more sales completed from this session."