Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony reflected, "It is always a pleasure to end a year on a high note, but even more so when a sale dramatically exceeds expectation, and that has been the case at this year's December Sale.
"The figures will show that we have not matched last year's sale, but there are times when the bare figures do not tell the whole story. This has been a very good breeding-stock sale from start to finish, following on from a foal sale which also outperformed expectation.
"Last year's December Sale had two high-profile dispersals, was widely regarded as the best December catalogue for decades, and deservedly broke all previous records. This year's catalogue was far from a vintage one. We lost a couple of potential stars on the eve of the sale, but the consensus from both vendors and purchasers has been that this has been as strong a December Sale as any in recent years. Mahony reflected on the year, saying, "While 2004 has been far from plain sailing at times we can also look back on sales which have given genuine cause for encouragement. Our Breeze-Up Sale continues to set new standards, and the autumn, July and February sales all produced record figures contributing to an annual turnover second only to last year's massive total.
"Concerns over prize money in Britain are very real, and the massive foal crops that await us are a little daunting, but we have seen new faces investing in the Thoroughbred industry in the course of the December Sale allowing us to end the year with a flourish.
"Looking ahead to the 2005 yearling sales, it was clear this year that the sheer numbers took their toll, and next year it is important that we manage the numbers in a manner which places less strain on the market."
Yesterday's top price was just 38,000gns, paid by agent Brian Grassick for the Darley home-bred filly Cumbria (GB) (Singspiel)..
"She's for a partnership including myself and will come to my stud. We'll put her in then resell her," said Grassick. "She was a nice family and comes from the family of Preseli, who my brother trained." COMPARATIVE FIGURES
TOTAL BREEDING STOCK
2003/1,284/1,038/799/38,728,950/48,471/18,500 TOTAL DECEMBER SALE
2003/2,666/2,191/1,698/63,196,150/37,217/17,000 TATTERSALLS ANNUAL