Record Price at Magic Millions Sale

A record bid by a relative unknown highlighted day one of the massive Magic Millions yearling sale on the Gold Coast in Australia.

Dale Sutton, a little known Queensland trainer, paid a sale record price of $1.3 million for a bulky, handsome son of Sadler's Wells and former Australian champion 2-year-old Ha Ha (by Danehill). John Singleton offered the colt that many thought would go to the bid of champion trainer Gai Waterhouse.

"I came with $1.2 million from clients and I'm still scratching my head about losing to him. Who is he?" Waterhouse asked.

Sutton is the trainer for emerging private enterprise Wadham Park, a large training center in Queensland, that clearly wanted a stallion hope for the future.

Big prices for quality horses, a healthy clearance rate, and record figures were the story of the day during the first session of the Conrad Jupiters Magic Millions sale. A record first day crowd of more than 5,000 packed the huge sale complex to witness history on a day where the temperature reached 98 degrees.

The previous record was $1 million, paid four years ago for a daughter of Sunday Silence.

When the final horse was knocked down late in the day, more than $20.6 million had been traded for 155 yearlings, an average price of $132,984, a record for any session in the history of the popular auction.

The second highest price of the day came earlier when a colt by Redoute's Choice from the Luskin Star placed mare Click was purchased by Sydney's Hall of Fame trainer Bart Cummings for $900,000.

Magic Millions managing director David Chester said he was thrilled with the results. "It's been a great day's selling," Chester said. "I may have liked the clearance rate to be a little higher, but over 80% (clearance) is still a wonderful result and a few more of today's passed in (bought back) horses will be sold over the next few days I'm sure."

Chester was impressed with figures returned by some unknown stallions like former Argentine champion Taimazov (Southern Halo--Heiress), who on debut reached an average of $130,000 off an $11,000 stud fee, and emerging superstar Iglesia, who returned similar figures while he was just at $6,000. And his figures may yet improve, as he is the sire of one of the Magic Millions classic's favorites on Saturday. That 2-year-old is worth $1 million.

Buyers came from locations including Hong Kong, South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand, and Japan. As well, buyers flocked to the Gold Coast from all points of Australia--with shoppers from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia.

Their are six more days of selling.