Hunter Valley Farm has had a successful Keeneland November breeding stock sale, ostensibly due to the ability of the Versailles, Ky. nursery to establish reserves that enable the large consignment to have a high turnover rate.
"As good as the market is, you have to be careful with your reserves," said manager Adrian Regan, as he and manager Fergus Galvin oversaw the Hunter Valley horses going through the sale ring during the Nov. 11 session. "When you set your reserve reasonably, there is a lot of competition on each individual."
Through Saturday, Hunter Valley sold 33 horses for gross receipts of $4,639,000, with 13 horses that did not attain their reserve.
Topping the Hunter Valley group was Stormy B (Hip 155), a 12-year-old daughter of Cherokee Run purchased by Red Hawk Farm for $610,000 during the sale's opening session Nov. 7. A half sister to grade 3 winner Rush Bay, the bay mare was sold in foal to Pioneerof the Nile . Stormy B is the dam of 2015 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) winner Itsaknockout, stakes winner Storm Power, and grade 3-placed Hot Sean.
Hunter Valley's Shannon Faith (Hip 1533), a Discreet Cat mare in foal to Carpe Diem , was purchased by B.V.B.I. Bloodstock for $200,000 as the second highest-priced mare sold during the Saturday session. The 6-year-old mare is from the female family of champion Will Take Charge and grade 1 winners Take Charge Lady and Take Charge Indy .
Overall, Regan said there had been "good, solid trade" through the first five sessions.
"I think it will continue through (latter sessions), because a lot of people still need horses. Just like (Keeneland's successful) September (sale), I think it will filter back because of the strong first couple of days," Regan said. "In September it continued right the way through. We have a lot of nice horses to come in here yet."
Those selling and buying at Keeneland say there are a plethora of reasons why the mixed sale has been so strong, including the strength of the U.S. economy, and supply and demand factors associated with a fewer number of horses offered.
"There is definitely a want for horses at the moment we haven't seen in the past years," Regan said. "The mare trade is as good as the foal trade. We're finding it a bit more selective today, but it is still strong trade. You have to work hard to find the quality. It's still there."
Like many horse industry professionals, Hunter Valley is also working the other side of the fence, buying horses at the November sale.
"We're buying plenty of horses for ourselves and partnerships, and still have plenty of orders coming in," Regan said.