Australia Easter Sale Off To Big Start

Median of $275,000 shows depth of market.

Opening day of the revamped Inglis national easter yearling sale got off to an absolute flyer with vendors reaping the rewards.

It was almost as if the recent scepter of equine influenza had spurred everyone into action - bigger, better, and more explosive than before. It was the best opening day in Inglis history.

All up, on a wet Sunday afternoon (April 20) in Sydney, 94 of the 120 cataloged horses traded hands for a total gross of Aus$32,305,000 (approximately U.S.$30 million), an average of $343,670, which is up on last year’s overall sale figure average of $331,935.

Three yearlings sold for $1 million or more, with one of them being by reigning Australian champion sire Flying Spur, but, like it did in New Zealand at Karaka in January, it's the median figure of $275,000 that showcases the depth of competition across all hips on display.

"The diversity in the buying bench was one of the most pleasing aspects of the session," Mark Webster, the Inglis CEO, said.

"We have worked very hard to attract both domestic and international buyers to the sale and I think this is reflected in the clearance rate being almost 85%. It’s been a great start to the sale and I’m looking forward to it continuing over the next three sessions with a great number of outstanding yearlings still to come."

Newcastle trainer Kris Lees signed for the session’s highest priced lot, a Redoute’s Choice filly from the Woodman mare Coliape, on behalf of owner Ron Croghan, for $1.8 million.

The filly, offered by Reavill Farm, is bred on the same cross as multi-million dollar earner Miss Finland.

"We paid a little more than we expected, but she is a lovely athletic filly and her full-brother (Smart Choice) is showing a lot of ability," Lees said. "There are a lot of nice fillies here, but I thought she was one of the best."

New South Wales owner David Fuller purchased a Redoute’s Choice--Castellina (by Zabeel) filly for $1.1 million, while Ingham Bloodstock paid $1 million for a filly by Flying Spur from the Marauding mare Cantenac, making her the first million-dollar yearling ever sold by Australia’s reigning champion sire.

Ingham Bloodstock, already cashed up but further bolstered by selling off its farm and horses for half a billion dollars to Darley last month, started the rebuilding process on day one. They were clearly the leading buyer of the session, securing five yearlings for $4.125 million, including four of the top nine lots.

"It’s a very, very strong sale and the good horses are bringing big money," Bob Ingham said. The Ingham horse Portillo (by Red Ransom), purchased at this very sale last year for $800,000, ran third in Saturday's group I $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes.

Day two of Australia's biggest yearling sale continues Monday at the Newmarket complex in Sydney.