Average Rises at Arqana Sale

Arqana’s select sale of horses in training in France Oct. 4 generated an impressive average price of 154,000 euros ($212,967), which was a 25.8% increase over the 2007 figure of 122,429 euros.

However, the average did not tell the whole story, with just 23 of the 39 lots offered being sold in the ring (59%) for a gross of 3,542,000 euros ($4,898,232). In 2007, the gross was 4,285,000 euros for the 35 horses sold from 50 offered (70%). The median fell 6.3%, from 80,000 euros last year to 75,000 euros ($103,718) this year.

The top price was 660,000 euros ($912,714) for 2-year-old Elusive Wave, who was changing hands for the second time this year. She immediately justified the amount paid by finishing a good second the next day at Longchamp in the Total Prix Marcel Boussac (Fr-I) for new owner Martin Schwartz, an American who has done well with other French purchases, Gorella and Lady of Venice. Michel Zero of Oceanic Bloodstock acted for Schwartz in the Elusive Wave transaction.

The Elusive City filly, unbeaten in three races beforehand, had been sent to the sale by French owner Marc de Chambure, who had spotted Elusive Wave when she won easily on her debut at Goodwood in England in May while being conditioned by British trainer Richard Hannon for Andrew Russell.

De Chambure bought Elusive Wave privately and sent her to be trained by Jean-Claude Rouget. The filly originally cost just 20,000 euros as a yearling when purchased by bloodstock agent Peter Doyle.

Four private sales -- totalling 287,500 euros ($397,584) and including 150,000 euros ($207,435) for group I winner Linda’s Lad, who raced twice at Woodbine last year -- brought the auction’s final gross to 3,829,500 euros ($5,295,816).

Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell operation, which gained the 2007 record-priced top lot, Racinger, for 665,000 euros, was also in action this time around, purchasing La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte (Fr-III) winner Pallodio for 400,000 euros ($553,160) and group-placed Hello Morning for 300,000 euros ($414,870). 

 "In the current economic context, we have every reason to be pleased with such an increase in the average,” said Arqana president Eric Hoyeau. “The results show once more that there is always plenty of money for the good horses, of which the 2008 catalogue was particularly rich."