A Danehill Dancer colt topped the opening session of the premier portion of New Zealand Bloodstock’s national yearling sale, bringing NZ$800,000 ($618,272 in U.S. funds) Jan. 31 at Karaka. David Ellis purchased him from Cambridge Stud.
Produced from the winning Zabeel mare Ballycairn, the bay colt is a half brother to 2006 Woodstock Classic (Aust-II) winner Pure Harmony (by Stravinsky).
"He is a very athletic colt, the ideal type of horse for the Karaka Million and we will be aiming him at the race," Ellis said. "It would be great to see him running in the New Zealand 2-year-old group I races, and if he is successful, perhaps race him in Australia as a 3-year-old.
"He's a great colt, the real deal. He is by a hugely successful international sire out of a good Zabeel mare. (Zabeel is) a fantastic broodmare sire whose daughters are proving valuable and highly successful at stud."
New Zealand Bloodstock reported a gross of NZ$29,861,800 ($23,078,000) for the 180 yearlings that were sold. The average price was NZ$165,894 (4128,260) and the median price was NZ$130,000 ($100,469). The clearance rate was 75%.
Compared to the same session a year ago, the gross declined 8.4% while the average fell 9.9%. The median was down 7.1%. The clearance rate in 2010 was 76%.
"The highlight of today has been the great international interest we've had at Karaka, with the Australian buying bench in particular probably as strong as we've ever had,” said Petrea Vela, New Zealand Bloodstock’s co-managing director. “But the increased Australian activity has been offset by the remarkable decrease in participation by the local buyers. Today the New Zealand spend is down 32% compared with the first day last year (NZ$9,132,500 or $7,057,960 versus NZ$6,203,500), which has had an effect on the results.
"It was always going to be very hard to repeat the great results we had here last year,” she continued, “but the sale has started well and improved markedly over the course of the day. There's definitely some fire in the market, with the last two hours of selling averaging nearly NZ$200,000 ($154,568), so hopefully some of that strength can roll over into tomorrow as well."
Ellis was the first day’s biggest spender, paying NZ$2,458,500 ($1,900,030) for 14 head.
"It is important to remember that we are in a recession, but good horses, with good pedigrees that look the part, are selling very well," he said. "There have been a few that we have not been able to buy and a few that went well above what we thought they would, so it has been tough buying at times. The bottom end of the sale is not as strong which hasn't been helped by the weak domestic market."