New Buyers Help Japanese Select Sale

New buyers helped compensate for fewer players competing for the most expensive horses at the Japan Racing Horse Association select sale.

A squadron of bold new buyers in the middle market lifted up the Japan Racing Horse Association select sale, keeping the foal portion nearly on pace with last year’s scorching record results even though there were fewer players competing for the most expensive horses.

The two-day foal section of the sale concluded July 11 with overall gross of 8,292,500,000 yen ($67,145,749), down just 0.5% from the all-time high of 8,340,500,000 yen ($72,526,087) recorded in 2006, when a world-record price for a foal was achieved.

“The sale was very good; good horses have sold very solidly,” said Teruya Yoshida, JRHA vice chairman and owner of major consignor Shadai Farm.

“Many, many new buyers were coming,” he said, calling that infusion of participants more significant than the loss of last year’s major buyers Fusao Sekiguchi, who is running for public office and didn’t attend the sale, and Darley Japan, which sold 10 foals but bought none this year. “The new buyers were here last year, but they have been more active this year and they were bold enough to bid 40 million yen ($323,887) or more. They were brave.”

The Wednesday foal session, which traditionally has been somewhat less robust than the first day of foal selling, proved stronger than expected. Two colts drew final bids equivalent to more than $1 million, bringing the three-day total--including the July 9 yearling session--of horses at that level to eight, the same number as last year.

A long-legged chestnut colt by Sunday Silence’s classic-winning son Agnes Tachyon, Japan’s leading sire of juveniles last year and currently ranked second on the general sire list, was sold for 155 million yen ($1,255,060) to Takayashi Shimakawa’s JHS Ltd.  The colt, out of the Mr. Prospector mare Rustic Belle and a half-brother to Japanese group stakes winner and producer Fusaichi Airedale, was consigned by Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm, which also consigned the second highest-priced horse of the day.

Yoshimi Ichikawa, who had been frustrated as the underbidder to Riichi Kondo on the previous two days’ session-toppers, secured an elegant bay colt by Kurofune out Fusaichi Airedale for 135 million yen ($1,093,117). Yoshiomi Onizuka’s Rosehill Thoroughbred Management agency signed the ticket on the colt, following up on its acquisition of the gray yearling full-brother for 140 million yen ($1,133,603) during the July 9 session.

Overall, 108 foals of the 141 offered on the final day were sold for a gross of 3,334,500,000 yen ($27,000,000), up 4.9% from last year’s 3,180,000,000 yen during the comparable session. Average price was up fractionally to 30,875,000 yen ($250,000) from 30,870,000, and the buyback rate was 23.4%, the lowest of the three sale days.

Gross for the entire sale, including yearlings, was 11,576,900,000 yen ($93,740,081), down 1.5% from last year’s 11,754,500,000 yen. Last year’s sale marked the reintroduction of a yearling session to the JRHA sale after an eight-year hiatus following the first such session in 1998. Overall average for this year’s three-day sale was 32,266,954 ($261,271), a decrease of 6.6% from last year.

Undoubtedly, the stars of the sale were Northern Farm, which sold all eight horses over the $1-million mark; leading buyer Kondo, who shopped during all three sessions, buying seven more foals on the last day to add to the 12 he purchased the previous day; and Kurofune, the champion son of French Deputy who sired three of the $1-million colts including the overall sale-topper, a foal out of My Katies who is a half-brother to multiple group I winner Admire Moon and who sold for 300 million yen ($2,429,149) to Kondo.

Northern Farm’s dominance mirrors its three-year lock on Japan’s leading breeder title and gave Katsumi Yoshida even more reason to smile. “I am so happy,” he exclaimed.