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HK Sale Electric; Flying Spur Tops

Flying Spur gelding tops blockbuster Hong Kong sale.

With a small catalog and eager buyers, the Hong Kong International Sale saw a healthy gross and average Saturday, the day before the Cathay Pacific International Races. Both events are at Sha Tin Racecourse.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club purchases the horses as yearlings and resells them to club members as 2-year-olds. The purchase prices, as well as total dollars invested in the horses including upkeep prior to the auction, are printed in the catalog.

With only 17 geldings to be sold, the bidding was very spirited and the HKJC made a nice profit on the venture, nearly doubling its money. The 17 lots sold for HK$75 million, an average of HK$4.4 million. The average was up 52% from a year ago.

The gross amounts to about $9.6 million.

There was little doubt prior to the sale that a son of Flying Spur was going to top the action. Purchased at the New Zealand Karaka sale for NZ$220,000, he was hammered down to Hong Kong property developer Law Cheuk for HK$7.2 million ($925,807). He will be trained by Paul O’Sullivan. The toal pre-sale cost was HK$1,839,000.

Flying Spur has sired 22 winners of 76 races in Hong Kong including group I winner Firebolt. The gelding is the first foal out of the Fuji Kiseki mare Floating World, who was stakes placed. Under the gelding’s third dam is two-time Hong Kong Horse of the Year Fairy King Prawn, who is by Danehill, as is the Australian-bred group I winner Flying Spur.

"It was an amazing atmosphere and amazing prices," Mark Player, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s director of the International Races and Sale, said. "The market seems to be getting better so we will be looking to buy better horses" for future sales.

Player said 27 horses he purchased in Australia are stuck there because of the equine influenza outbreak. They will be sold in 2008 as soon as they can be shipped to Hong Kong. Another 23 horses will be sold by subscription, where each owner puts up HK$1.2 million and the horses are drawn by random.