Danehill Fillies in Demand at Magic Millions Opener

By Ric Chapman
The yearling buying boom that has swept every major world market the past two years, was put to the test on day one of the massive Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in Australia.

And it passed.

Despite the world's problems and the fact the buying boom has been going so long now, day one at Magic Millions produced a record first day offering when Tim Stakemire purchased one of the last fillies sired by deceased stallion Danehill. Buying on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Stakemire went to AUS$500,000 to grab the regally bred Danehill-Eljazzi filly consigned by Riverslea Farm on behalf of John Singleton.

"She really has a nice pedigree and I doubt you'd see too many catalogues in the world where the first dam is the only one on the page," said Stakemire. "She wasn't overly big but they don't make Danehills anymore and the boss really liked her."

The boss, Dubai-based Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalfa, has poured millions of dollars into Australian purchases over the past three years and is looking to set up a breeding farm Down Under this year. He was resplendent in his suit and tie complete with entourage, thoroughly enjoying the heat of the Australian summer.

Eljazzi is an Irish bred daughter of Artaius and Border Bounty and was a winner at two in England. But as a broodmae she has been fantastic producing group I winner Rafha, who in turn threw the brilliant British group I winner Invincible Spirit. Eljazzi also produced group III winner Chiang Mai, who in turn threw European group III placegetters Frank Furbo and Fayla.

Little wonder Stakemire and the boss liked her.

He instructed Stakemire to buy another of the Danehill fillies at the sale too. This time going to just AUS$330,000. "That was as far as we wanted to go to nab her," explained Stakemire. "She too has a lovely pedigree and should furnish into a good broodmare for our breeding venture down the track."

This filly is from a Royal Academy mare aptly named Drama of Life, and that mare's dam is a half-sister to Rodrigo de Triano.

Second highest priced yearling on the day was Lot 89, the strong, heavily-set, tank-like son of boom Aussie sire Encosta de Lago. Many breeders outside Australia would know little of Encosta de Lago (Fairy King-Shoal Creek) the group I winner who has become a breeding phenomenon in Australia.

This crop of his yearlings were got when he stood at Blue Gum Farm in Victoria for just AUS$20,000. This colt was purchased by leading Queensland trainer John Wallace for AUS$400,000 after it was offered by pinhookers Les Irwin and Trevor Wells. Privately bought as a weanling for an undisclosed sum, this ready-made runner is from the Runyan mare Brompton's Girl - a three time Australian winner who is a daughter of the four-times Australian winner and group II victor in Brompton Cross. Brompton Cross is the dam of former group I-winning superstar Delago Brom (by Encosta de Lago). Irrespective of his pedigree, Wallace was going after him.

"I loved him from the moment I inspected him," Wallace said. "There's over 1,100 horses here and there are two standout colts in my mind. This bloke being one of them. I think he'll grow into a Classic type horse."

The Encosta de Lago's are averaging just on AUS$290,000 after day one and many believe him, now that he has moved to Coolmore Stud in New South Wales, to be the heir apparent to the legendary Danehill. He stood for AUS$125,000 this past season.

Overall, on the first day of the sale 158 horses were sold for a total AUS$17,370,000, for an average price of AUS$109,937.