By Ric Chapman
As the final hammer slammed down to signal the end of what has been the biggest yearling sale in Australia's history, vendors, buyers, and other observers were left with one question: Will the global trend of record buying ever end?The six-day Conrad Jupiters Magic Millions Yearling Sale concluded Jan. 12 when the last of the 1,151 yearlings catalogued was sold. More records were broken here, with new bests for the average price and sale aggregate for the popular sessions five and six of the sale. In fact, so big has this Gold Coast gathering of horse flesh become, Australia and Magic Millions has never had a sale go six days.Top price of AUS$130,000 (approximately U.S.$98,500) was paid by popular Queensland trainer Ron Maund for a daughter of the ill-fated Lion Hunter on the final day. Maund outbid fellow Queensland trainer Liam Birchley for the gray filly."I thought she was the nicest Lion Hunter filly I'd ever seen," Maund said.That is a fair wrap (compliment), considering Lion Hunter was champion freshman sire of his year and has produced a Magic Millions winning filly in Lovely Jubly.Alhtough there are hundreds of Lion Hunters racing with distinction, Maund said of his most recent acquisition, "But she was that good. Before I saw her, I'd say the previous best was Street Smart, but this filly was better in my book." The filly is the second foal of the multiple Sydney winning Success Express mare Glimmers. The filly's sire, Lion Hunter, died after serving just four crops of mares. Also, Success Express is extraordinary as a broodmare sire. Little wonder the genetic god looked kindly upon
this flashy filly."She was close to perfect," Maund added. "She has everything I look for in a filly, although I didn't think I'd have to go that high (in price) to buy her."Lion Hunter stood at Oaklands Stud in Toowoomba before his tragic death last year. His barn mate was a brash Last Tycoon son named Iglesia, the holder of the fastest six furlong time in Australian history, and whatever Lion Hunter started and has thus achieved, Iglesia will surely ably step up and take over. Iglesia recorded the session's second highest price when AUS$87,500 was paid for his beautifully bred filly from the unraced Puissance mare Eureka Magic.The select session ended with 317 horses sold at a gross of AUD$7,879,500 (U.S.$5,958,000) and boasted an improved average from last year's record breaking session of
$24,856.The entire six session sale resulted in sales of $73,311,500 (U.S.$55,558,000), smashing last year's total of $67,258,000. Magic Millions managing director David Chester labeled the 2005 Conrad Jupiters Magic Millions Yearling Sale a "resounding success."And this was achieved without any Sunday Silence progeny, a huge factor in boosting numbers last year."Buyers and vendors alike are realizing that this sale in January is now one of the most important in the world," Chester said.