Identifying the best at Easter

5 min read
There are expensive horses and there are good horses. Sometimes they are both. But there are many Stakes winners to be had at relatively low prices. John Boyce reviews the purchase prices of recent Inglis Easter stars.

There is no better advertisement for a horse sale than The Autumn Sun. Witnessing this majestic son of the recently deceased Redoute’s Choice use his long stride to cut down his opponents late on in five G1 races, including the Caulfield, Randwick and Rosehill Guineas, is one thing.

It’s altogether another to know that he cost only $700,000 as a yearling when sold at the Easter Yearling sale two years ago.

But that’s the recurring theme at the Australian yearling sales. There are expensive horses and there are good horses. Sometimes they are both. But there are many Stakes winners to be had at relatively low prices.

The Autumn Sun as a yearling at the 2017 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale

For the record, the average price of a Stakes winner at Easter since 2010 is $324,000 and buying a Group winner will set you back on average $342,000. G1 winners meanwhile have averaged $376,000 – all fairly reasonable prices that clearly demonstrate Easter is not the preserve of the very wealthy, but of the astute.

A sale not just for the wealthy

Since 2010 there have been 221 Stakes winners purchased at the sale, ranging in price from $1,750,000 to the $15,000 paid for G3-winning Denman filly Flitocracy in 2013. Forty Stakes winners have sold for under $100,000 and 104 for $200,000 or less – that’s 47% of all Stakes-winning graduates in the past nine years. So if you are a buyer there’s every reason to approach the sale with confidence even with a limited budget.

Just as Winx (Street Cry {Ire}) has been flying the flag for Magic Millions this season, so too has The Autumn Sun for the Inglis’ Sydney showpiece.

"The Autumn Sun is clearly the best racehorse to sell at the Easter sale in recent years." - John Boyce

Rated 126 by Timeform, The Autumn Sun is clearly the best racehorse to sell at the Easter sale in recent years, but if the ratings are anything to go by he has a few peers. The Shamardal gelding Able Friend ($550,000 yearling) progressed his career in Hong Kong and was talented enough to earn a 130 rating from Timeform after four G1 victories at Sha Tin.

The Autumn Sun

Hot on Able Friend’s heels in terms of class was Black Caviar’s younger brother All Too Hard (Casino Prince) who was assessed at 129 following an exemplary three-year-old season in which he won the G1 Caulfield Guineas and concluded his career with three straight G1 triumphs in the CF Orr, Futurity Stakes and All Aged Stakes. All Too Hard was one of those in the millionaire yearling/G1 winner category, costing $1,025,000 at the 2011 sale.

Fastnet Rock’s son Foxwedge sold for just $100,000 less than All Too Hard the year before and went on to earn a 128 mark from Timeform after a consistent career in which he won the G1 William Reed at Moonee Valley.

The joint-fourth best racehorse to graduate from the sale since 2010 cost a mere $50,000. Flying Artie (Artie Schiller {USA}), rated 127, only ran seven times, but reached the top flight on his sixth start in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington.

Passed-in champions

Only two other Easter yearlings in the period have earned Timeform ratings equal to or better than the Autumn Sun’s mark of 126. Both, remarkably, failed to find buyers at prices that now look ridiculously cheap: Chautauqua (Encosta de Lago), rated 127 and a six-time G1 winner – including three consecutive renewals of the TJ Smith, and Trapeze Artist (Snitzel), this season’s leading sprinter and multiple G1 winner who is awaiting his next run in this year’s TJ Smith before taking up stud duties at Widden.

Trapeze Artist winning the G1 Golden Rose

"Only two other Easter yearlings in the period have earned Timeform ratings equal to or better than the Autumn Sun’s mark of 126." - John Boyce

This year’s Easter sires are typically a mixture of the best in the business and the most exciting young prospects. One would think that buying a good racehorse at any sale would come at a premium. And that is generally indeed the case, particularly in Sydney.

Zoustar’s six Stakes-winning sales graduates have a median price of $380,000, compared to an overall median of $150,000.

Epaulette, Foxwedge, Teofilo and Lonhro are others with a Stakes-winner median price of at least twice their overall median. In all of these examples, it’s evident that buyers had little difficulty in identifying the best prospects by these sires and were then prepared to put down good money.

But in other cases, it isn’t quite as clear cut.

The red-hot I Am Invincible has a median price of $125,000 for his 489 yearlings sold so far, yet his 37 Stakes-winning sales graduates posted only slightly higher prices, with a median of $160,000. And it seems even trickier to find the good Written Tycoon's among his sales offerings: his 15 Stakes winners have a median of $50,000 which is less than the $63,000 for all his yearlings.