When the curtain closed Aug. 21 on the three-day Arqana August yearling sale, the French equine auction company reported a record average for the sale, a slight decline in gross receipts, and a median equal with 2016.
The sale in Deauville, France saw 232 yearlings sold (76.07% of the 305 offered) for a total €38,640,500 (US$162,975,000), which was down 3% from a year ago. The all-time sale record €166,554 ($195,788) average represented a 9% gain and the median was €110,000 ($129,307).
"French breeders have definitely upped their game over the past few years, both by investing in young, quality broodmares and in nominations of a very high standard. The result of those efforts is here for all to be seen and the record average price is a fair reward for having produced the best possible yearlings for the top end of the market," Arqana CEO Eric Hoyeau said.
"On the buyers' front, we were thrilled to welcome so many investors from all around the world, a combination of our most loyal supporters and of many new faces from Japan, America, Australia, not forgetting France. Our aim is to offer them a choice of cherry-picked yearlings with the strongest credentials as well as an encompassing experience of what French racing and breeding have to offer."
Topping the sale was a Dubawi colt purchased by Kerri Radcliffe Bloodstock for €1.55 million ($1,822,060) during the middle session Aug. 20. Offered by Haras de la Pérelle, the sale-topper is the second foal produced from Giofra, a Dansili mare whose four wins included the Falmouth Stakes (G1) and Prix d'Harcourt (G2) in 2012.
Selling as Lot 160, the bay colt went to the account of Radcliffe following a protracted bidding duel with Shadwell's Angus Gold.
"He is just a gorgeous individual," Radcliffe said. "I wasn't leaving Deauville without him. He will go to André Fabre and we are hoping for the best."
The auction's other seven-figure yearling was the final horse through the ring on opening day when Coolmore Stud's M. V. Magnier went to €1 million ($1,175,520) for Lot 88, a son of Coolmore top stallion Galileo. Offered by Ecurie des Monceaux, the colt is a half brother to group 1 winners Most Improved and Ectot.
"He is just a very nice horse and a half brother to two group 1 winners so we hope he can become one too," said Magnier, who bought the colt on behalf of a partnership also involving Markus Jooste's Mayfair Speculators and P&R Doyle. "Galileo did something out of the ordinary this year (siring his 70th group 1 winner) and we believe that the momentum will only carry on."
Another Galileo yearling from Ecurie des Monceaux was the sale's highest-priced filly, also going to the account of Mayfair Speculators/P&R Doyle/M. V. Magnier, at a price of €950,000 ($1,116,750). Out of the French stakes winner Prudenzia, the filly (Lot 51) is a half sister to 2013 Irish Oaks winner Chicquita, raced by the Coolmore connections of Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier, and Michael Tabor.