King's Best Filly Sets Premier Sale Record in Australia

On Monday in Melbourne, the Inglis premier yearling sale opened with a record. It was day two of the auction, early in the coolish morning, but the bidding was on fire.

First cab off the rank was a big Encosta de Lago filly from the draft of Blue Gum Farm. She was from a nicely-bred mare named Nuclear Dance, and she broke the premier sale filly record by fetching Aus$430,000. Leading Victorian trainer Robbie Griffiths bought her.

The record opening set the scene for a strong day's trading which reached its crescendo late in the day when yet another premier record fell. Graeme Rogerson went to the premier sale record of Aus$570,000 for a half-sister to the group I VRC Oaks winner Serenade Rose. His bid capped off a great finish to a sale that was teetering for a few hours following too many pass-ins.

Overall, 382 lots sold for gross receipts of Aus$24,496,250, an average of Aus$64,126, and median figure of Aus$50,000. This compares to 380 lots for a total of Aus$22,385,000, an average of Aus$58,908, and median of Aus$42,250 in 2005, and represents significant increases of 9%, 8%, and 18% respectively.

Inglis director Peter Heagney was understandably delighted with results and said: "When any sale has a record-breaking average, record breaking gross, and new top-price, as we did today it speaks for itself. The demand today was exceptionally strong with a clearance rate of over 85% giving an overall clearance of 82%.

"With last year's sale setting records in all areas it was always going to be a hard act to follow, so the outstanding success of this year's sale is a credit to the wonderful job done by all the vendors.

"The interest leading into this week gave us optimism that the sale would be successful, so obviously it is very pleasing to have our confidence justified."

One of the surprising aspects of the sale came in the shape of the pedigree of the record setter. Just a month earlier at other Australian yearling sales, the progeny of Darley's sacked former shuttler King's Best, failed, often enough to even attract a bid. It was tragic as he's such a well-bred, handsome horse, but buyers in Australia see him as cold as yesterday's toast. But not Rogerson.

"I bought, owned and trained this filly's mother and sold her when she finished racing for a good profit," Rogerson said. "But she has become a sensational broodmare, and I just had to buy back into the family again."

The dam of the sale-topper is Rose of Tralee (by Sadler's Wells), who cost Aus$500,000 as a yearling in 1997. She was an out and out stayer, winning four low key races.

At the end of her racing career, Rogerson sold the mare to this King's Best filly's breeders, Brooklyn Lodge, who recently sold her on to Sir Patrick Hogan's Cambridge Stud, in New Zealand, in foal to Redoute's Choice for a figure believed to be over Aus$1 million. Rogerson was underbidder to Adrian Nicoll on Serenade Rose at the Easter sale in 2004 before picking up another half-sister, Fusaichi Rose (by Fusaichi Pegasus ), at Easter last year for Aus$185,000.

"I think this King's Best filly is great value for money -- especially if Serenade Rose wins the Australian Guineas on Saturday," said Rogerson. "We're back in the family now and I think she's going to be a good filly."