Zabeel Colt Tops New Zealand Premier Sale

Average price rises 25.7% from last year and is the sale's second-highest ever.

A Zabeel colt brought NZ$2 million ($1,406,400 in U.S. funds) Feb. 2 to top the second and final session of the New Zealand Bloodstock premier yearling sale at Karaka and become the auction’s most expensive horse sold this year. His price equaled the highest ever in the sale’s history, and he shares the record with two other horses

Australian bloodstock agent James Bester purchased the colt, which is out of the stakes-winning Danehill mare Diamond Like, from Cambridge Stud.

"What attracted me to this colt was his quality,” Bester said. “Physically he's the best yearling I have ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere. Chiefly I buy on conformation and this colt was exceptional, but to also present with the best page in the sale is extraordinary. Zabeel on Danehill is outstanding (as a cross), and (the pedigree includes) a very fast mare, more to the point, to counter Zabeel's staying influence.

"It was easy to spend that sort of money,” Bester continued, “when you know the background the horse has had, and being from Cambridge Stud, from that family, I had every confidence."

Bester was acting on behalf of  a small group of Australian owners who race horses with a number of trainers and they have yet to decide which stable  the yearling will join colt.

David Ellis, an underbidder on the NZ$2-million yearling, purchased the session’s second-highest-priced yearling, a Redoute's Choice – Grand Echezeaux colt, from Pencarrow Stud. The colt will be part of a syndicate of four colts purchased by Ellis during the premier auction.

A Fastnet Rock – Popsy colt was the third-highest-priced yearling sold during the sale, topping the Feb. 1 opening session at NZ$1 million. Jayven See of Singapore bought the colt from Esker Lodge

The premier auction’s final figures included a gross of NZ$65,373,500 ($44,564,000)  for the 357 horses that sold. The gross was up 22.6% from 2009. The average price of NZ$183,119 ($128,800), up 25.7%, was the sale’s second-highest ever. The median price of NZ$135,000 ($94,900) was up 35%. The clearance rate increased from 77% last year to 79% this year.

"We couldn't be happier with the results of the past two days,” said New Zealand Bloodstock’s co-managing director Petrea Vela. “There are a lot of delighted vendors at Karaka tonight who have had their expectations completely surpassed. The strength of the buying bench has been thoroughly overwhelming and has demonstrated to us the hot demand there is for the product we offer here. There are still five days (of selling) to go but we are thrilled with the outcome of the premier sale and are  grateful to both buyers and sellers for their support to post such successful results for the industry."