Karaka sales good news for NZ racing

Coolmore Stud's Tom Magnier and the top lot yearling he bought for $1,975,000

The number of new thoroughbred buyers ringside at Karaka this week indicates New Zealand racing has turned a corner, the leading buyer says.

New Zealander David Ellis of Te Akau Stud bought 23 yearlings for $3,810,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock’s two-day 'premier' yearling sale, which launched the national yearling sale series this week. 

His top price was $620,000 paid for the High Chaparral colt at lot 282 from Pencarrow Stud mare Our Echezeaux (Zabeel), dam of current stakes winners Dolmabache and Pure Elegance.

With 13 colts and 10 fillies destined for Te Akau, Mr Ellis’s purchases have ranged in price from $12,500 to $620,000 by a wide selection of sires.

“It was definitely a buyers’ market but, nevertheless, the sale was still a huge success given the economic circumstances we are in,” he says.

“There was still terrific interest across the board on all horses we were interested in.

“We are thrilled to have so many new owners, which indicates New Zealand racing has really turned a corner.”

Mr Ellis says he will be back at Karaka’s ‘select’ sale, which starts today, trying to buy more horses for Te Akau Racing.

The premier sale, which wrapped up yesterday, attracts the most interest of the week-long national yearling sales series  and grossed $51 million over the two days, $3 million less than last year,

Sales results reveal 323 of the 441 catalogued yearlings were sold with a higher sale average of $158,054 – up 2% on last year’s $154,677.

While 27 fewer horses were sold, the median sale matched last year’s at $120,000.

And at 79%, the clearance rate was up from 74% last year.

The top sale was the much-anticipated colt at lot 63, knocked down for $1,975,000 on Monday.

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

Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore Stud has toppled Cambridge Stud’s 31-year reign as the leading premier sale vendor by total sales. With 21 lots sold for $7.5 million, Curraghmore was just $430,000 ahead of Cambridge Stud’s aggregate of $7,055,000 for 47 lots sold.

Mr Cunningham says there was a good market at the sale.

“The market has become a bit selective over the last few years as we know but if you were offering what they wanted then your horses sold well,” he says.

New Zealand Bloodstock co-managing director Petrea Vela says the company is very pleased with the results of the past two days.

“We headed into this sale expecting some uncertainty in the market and have been very pleasantly surprised by how solid the results have been.

“We have definitely felt improvement on last year, where the first day, in particular, took a lot longer to find a momentum.

“Throughout the past two days trade has been very steady, very strong in places, with a wide and varied buying bench that has been positive in its regard for the horses on offer at Karaka. 

“Hopefully, the tide is turning and with some positive news in New Zealand around fillies racing and so on, that confidence will also filter through the local market over the course of the week ahead.”

Australia market king 

Of the $51 million turnover, more than $25 million was provided by Australian buyers.

Those from New Zealand spent $15.3 million, Hong Kong buyers $6.6 million and Singapore bidders $1.8 million.

The yearling sales continue until Monday.


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