Colt tops day one of NZ yearling sales at $NZ1.975m

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Tom Magnier with the Fastnet Rock colt he went to $1,975,000 to purchase.
Tom Magnier with the Fastnet Rock colt he went to $1,975,000 to purchase.

A colt fetched $NZ1,975,000 yesterday on the opening day of New Zealand Bloodstock’s 87th National Yearling Sales Series at Karaka.

The top price was paid for the much-anticipated colt – lot 63. By Coolmore Stud’s Fastnet Rock from the Peintre Celebre mare Celebria, the half-brother to Group 1 winner Gathering offered by Curraghmore Stud is from the star-studded family of Redoute’s Choice and Platinum Scissors.

After a three-way bidding battle with Peter Moody and David Ellis, the colt was secured by Coolmore Stud’s Tom Magnier for the fifth highest price ever fetched at Karaka.

Magnier said: “He was definitely one of the horses we wanted. He is a very nice colt with lots of quality and the family is doing very well.”

It was a strong day’s trade at the sale, which saw the average, aggregate and clearance all ahead of the results from day 1 last year.

With 40 fewer horses catalogued for the day compared with 2012, turnover is ahead at $25,490,000, reflecting an average of $161,332 versus $145,985 at the end of Day 1 last year.

The clearance rate was a very healthy 77 per cent.

The top-priced filly of the day, and the second top price of the sale so far, was the Zabeel filly, lot 103, a half-sister to New Zealand’s leading three-year-old filly this season in Fix (Iffraaj). She was bought for $800,000 by Alan Bell.

The former Racing New South Wales chairman was impressed with the quality on offer and thrilled with his purchase from Haunui Farm, destined for Tim Martin’s stable.

“She’s a world-class filly. She’s by a sire that is both a wonderful sire of race fillies but he’s a broodmare sire par excellence,” Bell said.

“She is that sharp type of Zabeel filly that won’t take too much time to get rolling so she’s going to fit Aussie racing. She’s going to run up to a mile and maybe beyond.

“She’s a rare individual by a stallion that has no peer.”

Bell bought four yearlings yesterday, two fillies and two colts, for $1,430,000.

Currently threatening to end Cambridge Stud’s 31-year reign at the top of the Karaka vendor table is Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore Stud, which sold the day’s top lot. With all 15 of Curraghmore’s entries for yesterday now sold, the stud has an aggregate of $6,270,000 at an average of $418,000.

Curraghmore principal Gordon Cunningham always rated his star colt and wasn’t surprised by the result.

“He was a colt that I rated very highly from the very first time I saw him and I am grateful to John Camilleri for having given me the opportunity to sell him.

“I wasn’t surprised at the result as well-bred colts of his nature will always be sought after by the major players and I’m delighted that Coolmore have bought him.

“Regardless of figures I knew that this was the best draft we have offered and I am grateful to everybody that has bid on our horses and wish them the best of luck.”

Curraghmore Stud has seven premier yearlings to be offered today, including another colt and filly by Fastnet Rock.

The leading buyer for the day was the Hong Kong Jockey Club, buying six yearlings for $2,115,000 at an average of $352,000.

Australian buyers were the biggest force on the salegrounds on day one, so far accounting for more than $13 million worth of stock, over half the day’s aggregate.

New Zealand – led by Te Akau principal David Ellis spending $1.7 million – has spent just over $7 million in total so far. Also active were buyers from Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia and Macau.

Providing much of the action at the top end of the Sale, Fastnet Rock currently heads the sires table with 10 lots sold for $4,725,000 at an average of $472,500. The third top price of the day was the Fastnet Rock filly from Episode at Lot 129, bought from Curraghmore Stud by Bart Cummings for $700,000.

Also in high demand were Encosta de Lago, Zabeel, High Chaparral and O’Reilly.

With six days of selling yet to go, New Zealand Bloodstock co-managing director Petrea Vela was pleased with how the sale began.

“It has been an extremely pleasing start to sales week. We’re thrilled with the turnout of buyers, the salegrounds are as busy as ever, and there’s been lots of spirited bidding right throughout the day.

“Leading into the week it was hard to predict how things were going to unfold but vendors are doing well to meet the market and the mood on the grounds is very positive. The clearance rate at 77 per cent is a great start and is likely to strengthen even further tomorrow.”

Selling resumes today at 11am.

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