There were many people who thought that EI (equine influenza) last year would hinder vendors at sales over the next few years in Australia. But, they have proven to be as wrong as mixing ketchup and ice cream together.
This year in Australia alone, pretty much every sale has resulted in bullish sales. Vendors are cleaning up, and that was evident on the Gold Coast in Queensland June 2 during the opening session of the Magic Millions broodmare sale.
The sale saw 123 hips of the 205 hips catalogued, sold for Aus$11,747,250 ($11,204,683). The average was Aus$95,506 ($91,102).
When trainer Mark Kavanagh's multiple group I winning mare Divine Madonna entered the ring for her owners, who incidentally had paid $80,000 for her as a yearling four years ago, it was evident that the daughter of Hurricane Sky out of My Madonna, by Prego, was on everyone’s shopping list.
In the end, Darley purchased her, through former trainer Bill Mitchell did their bidding. He went to Aus$2.7million ($2,575,483) to secure her. Her price established a Magic Millions record price but less than the $3.4 million paid for Virage De Fortune when she was sold at the Inglis Easter broodmare sale last year.
With Coolmore ever present and hovering for quality racemares, and now Patinack Farm doing likewise, Darley flexed its muscle.
John Sunderland, the stud manager of Darley, said the mare would be one the jewels of their already large and outstanding broodmare band. "It's obviously a lot of money, but we're delighted to be able to buy her.
"It's very hard to be able to get mares of her quality,” he continued. “And accordingly you have to spend a lot to buy them."
Sunderland said no decision had yet been made as to which stallion Divine Madonna would visit in her initial season at stud this spring.
"We'll just get her home and then sit down and work things out from there," Sunderland said.
Kavanagh, the man who purchased Divine Madonna as a yearling from the Adelaide Yearling Sale and trained her throughout her illustrious career, had some mixed emotions. "I am a bit (sad), but it opens another chapter to her life and now we can look forward to her producing quality offspring.
"We're delighted with the price - not often you can turn $80,000 into $2.7 million - and grab another two (million) along the way. And with my wife being a part owner it makes me feel a lot better!
"It's been a memorable ride - and as they say, while one door closes another will open."
Divine Madonna, from the top producing Prego mare My Madonna, won eight races and earned over $2 million during a glittering racetrack career. She is best remembered for her group I wins in an Emirates Stakes, Toorak Handicap, Myer Classic, and Queen of the Turf Stakes.
Coolmore didn't officially buy anything, but Patinack Farm grabbed 12 mares on day one as its unstoppable move into Thoroughbreds Down Under continues to roll out.