New Zealand Sale Up; $1 Million for Danehill Colt

Bolstered by a $1 million yearling (U.S. $671,510), the first day of the New Zealand Premier yearling sale at Karaka showed healthy increases.

The gross for the first day of the three-day premier section of the auction was $17,720,000, up from $15,625,000 a year ago. The average for the 164 sold (of 215 catalogued and 205 offered) was $108,049, up 6.5% from the first-day average in 2003. The RNA rate was 20%, up from the 16% that did not find new homes during the opening session last year.

The first session median of $67,500 was identical to last year's first-day figure.

The top price was for a colt by Danehill out of the Shirley Heights mare Push a Venture. The colt's dam is a half-sister to the dam of Rock of Gibraltar, the major runner and now stallion who is also by Danehill.

The colt is the fourth foal produced from Push a Venture, who has two foals to race (both by Danehill), both winners, including listed stakes placed Isle of Gibraltar.

The colt, purchased by Adrian Nicoll of the BBA (Ireland) was sold by Curraghmore Stud as agent.

"Today was certainly one of the strongest opening sessions to our Premier sale we have ever seen," New Zealand Bloodstock general manager Julia Naismith said in a release. "Right from the outset the buyers were ready for action, the bids flew thick and fast creating great momentum, which carried right throughout the session. It was very pleasing for us to see so many of the world's leading bloodstock buyers here at Karaka, with the strongest representation from Europe in particular that we have ever experienced. Buyers from Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand were also significant forces. If we can continue the market level established today throughout days two and three we are in for a very successful Premier sale."