By Ric Chapman
The world of yearling Thoroughbred sales is getting very close to the moment the absolute last Danehill yearling will be sold.
At day one (Sunday) of Australia's massive Magic Millions national yearling, weanling, and broodmare sale, that day for Australians arrived when the last one ever to be sold in this country went to the bid of top trainer Gillian Heinrich for $150,000 (U.S. $103,800).
In January, across the ocean at the Karaka yearling sale in New Zealand, there will be nine more to go--all owned and bred by Peter Vela. And they are the last nine on earth. The book will close that day on the progeny of the super champion Danehill.
But for now, history was made by Heinrich who snared the Danehill--Crazy For You (by Pleasant Tap) filly after spirited bidding. It was fitting in some respects too as Heinrich trains her team from a most impressive and innovative stabling complex on the Gold Coast racecourse in Queensland--just a two minute walk from where she purchased this Danehill. Heinrich's stables house about 50 horses courtesy of an ingenious architectural design that has a stabling block that consists of two flights. Those on top walk up to their boxes via a ramp.
The Danehill filly's mother was a winner in Brazil but her granddam, by Affirmed, won twice in the U.S. and threw the French stakes winner Mais Oui, who in turn produced the U.S. grade II winner Imperfect World and fellow stakes winner Monsieur Cat and Awesome Courage.
In much the same vein as the Danehill filly, the second highest price paid was for a filly by local hero Snippets (Lunchtime--Easy Date) from the Geiger Counter mare Northwood Bisc. Snippets died the same year as Danehill and this is his last yearling sold also.
Danehill's progeny have won 238 stakes races including 59 grade/group Is. Snippets has sired 45 stakes winners of which 11 won at group I level.
The Snippets filly fetched $94,000 (U.S.$ 65,030) to the bid of a wealthy Queensland businessman who steadfastly refused to be identified. He did say, however, that he bought her hoping to win the $1million (U.S. $692,000) Magic Millions Classic next year and the $3million (U.S. $1.9 million) Golden Slipper Stakes. To help facilitate this, he immediately announced Bruce Brown would train her. Brown won the 2002 Slipper with Calaway Gal.
Presented by Attunga Stud, the Snippets filly was originally entered for the Inglis Easter sale but was injured just prior to selling and was withdrawn. She was a supplementary inclusion into yesterday's sale. Her full-sister is the impressive recent Sydney juvenile winner Every Dream and both are half-sisters to former outstanding sprinting filly Camena.
Two Fusaichi Pegasus fillies went through the ring. One had skin all off its back near leg due to an accident while at the sale. She was purchased by Kanematsu Kogyo Kabushiki of Japan for just $30,000 (U.S. $20,800). The other filly went to John Woods, who paid $41,000 (U.S. $28,000) for her. She was a bay from the Irish group III placed mare Trek.
One youngster who did not sell was by this year's boom sire Danzero (by Danehill), who sired the wonder juvenile Dance Hero to win three group I races in a period of 14 days. This Danzero--Shalbourne (by Nureyev) filly reached a bid of $125,000 but her owners wanted $130,000 (U.S. $90,000) and decided to hold onto her.
There were 345 lots catalogued, a disturbing 91 bought back by their owners as the global trend of massive upswings in yearling interest seemed to even out here.
On Tuesday, the sale switches to the weanlings and then there are three huge days of broodmare sales. This is the biggest catalogue in terms of numbers of Thoroughbreds ever sold in Australia with 1,266 entered.
The statistics for the sale were as follows (2003 in brackets):
Catalogued: 350 (294)
Sold: 193 (188)
Outs: 65 (26)
RNA: 92 (80)
Gross: $3,222,500 ($2,640,450)
Average : $16,697 ($14,045)
Percent Sold: 68% (70%)
The top five prices of the day were as follows:
$150,000, Danehill--Crazy for You filly, Heinrich Bloodstock
$94,000, Snippets--Northwood Bisc filly, Magic Millions, agent
$85,000, Danehill Dancer--Saladancer colt, Anton Koolman
$75,000, Fasliyev--Academy of Dance colt, Magic Millions, agent
$60,000, Red Ransom
--Garden Flower colt, Doncaster Bloodstock Services
$60,000, Anabaa--Casting for Gold colt, Henry Plumptre