Australia Looks at Repositories for Some Auctions

A repository for X-rays will be set up for at least some of Australia's major yearling sales well ahead of the 2003 auctions. Following the imbroglio that engulfed the recent Australian Easter sale, the setting up of an X-ray bank for the main yearling auction in Sydney was almost a fait accompli, given its reliance on offshore expenditures.

Reg Inglis, principal of auctioneers William Inglis & Son, said his company would be responsible for the framework of the repository, "but the breeders will be asked to do the fine-tuning."

Details such as whether the time allowed will follow the guidelines employed by Keeneland at its July and September sales will be hashed out in the coming month. But Inglis is committed to providing the basis for its main sales in Sydney and Melbourne.

Australia's other major Thoroughbred auctioneer is almost certainly gagged from following the Inglis lead now because it is embroiled in an impending court case over a $400,000 (Australian funds) yearling from its main Magic Million sale at the Gold Coast in January. Involved with that colt is Melbourne conditioner Rick Hore-Lacy, who has championed the rights of buyers for pre-sale X-rays since early last year.

The situation came to a head leading up to the April 2-4 Easter sale. Hong Kong Jockey Club chief executive officer Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges had said his organization would not buy yearlings from any sale that did not allow X-raying of yearlings. The Jockey Club is a leading market player in drawing colts for its private 2-year-old auction on the eve of Hong Kong's International race day in December.

Coolmore sold the Jockey Club two catalogued Danehill sons and a Desert King privately for a collective $1.6 million prior to the sale. All three were withdrawn.

After saying X-rays would not be available up to the eve of its Easter sale, Reg Inglis was forced to revise his stance when several major vendors brought X-rays to the sale and refused to back down. A day after the sale closed, the $1.4 million final-day transaction for a Danehill colt was canceled.