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Group 1 quality to the fore as record Premier comes to a close

11 min read
A quality Toronado (Ire) colt and a highly rated Choisir filly highlighted the final session of the record-breaking Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, securing prices of $460,000 and $400,000 respectively.

Cover image courtesy of Inglis

At A Glance

The Premier Session average ended on $141,691, up from $127,259 in 2020.

The Premier Session grossed over $63 million, surpassing the previous record of $54 million.

The clearance rate topped 87 per cent for the main session, with 456 horses sold, compared to 83 per cent last year when 384 horses sold.

The Sale median for the Premier session remained at $110,000.

Paul Moroney Bloodstock and Michael Moroney topped the final day when paying $460,000 for Lot 584, the Toronado half-brother to G1 VRC Derby winner Extra Brut (Domesday).

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and Kestrel Thoroughbreds were the winning bidders on Lot 560, a top-quality filly by Choisir from the draft of Gilgai Farm, paying $400,000.

The Showcase Session was co-topped at $175,000 by Lot 623, a Flying Artie colt, and Lot 802, a colt by Written Tycoon.

The Showcase average rose on last year, at $46,273, up from $45,642, while the median also rose from $36,000 to $40,000 and clearance rate was a healthy 84 per cent.

Mare purchase keeps on giving for McDonald and Stonehouse

The purchase of Redoute's Choice mare Dom Perion for just $6000 five years ago continued to pay dividends for Andrew McDonald, as her latest foal, a colt by Toronado, produced a $460,000 return through the Stonehouse Thoroughbreds draft at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale on Tuesday.

The mare was purchased in foal to Domesday, and the subsequent foal sold for $52,000 as a weanling before going on to become Extra Brut, the winner of the 2018 G1 VRC Derby at Flemington,

Twelve months ago at this Sale, Stonehouse offered Extra Brut's full brother, who sold to Danny O'Brien Racing for $380,000, while in 2021, her Toronado colt went to greater heights again, when the Moroneys paid $460,000 for him.

Lot 584 - Toronado (Ire) x Dom Perion (colt)

"He's a beautiful type and slightly different to his brothers in the sense he has a lot of Toronado about him, and is probably more of a Guineas horse than a Derby horse," Stonehouse's Ryan Arnel said.

"I've never had a horse in our stable and on our farm that could walk like that. He has a great action and his temperament was great too. In eight days here, he went through 160 individual parades and has handled them like an absolute gentleman."

"In eight days here, he (Lot 584) went through 160 individual parades and has handled them like an absolute gentleman." - Ryan Arnel

Of particular satisfaction for Arnel, who grew the colt out and prepped him after he was foaled on McDonald's farm at Congupna in northern Victoria, was the fact he will be staying in his home state.

"When we bring horses down here, we are a Victorian farm and the market that we most want to support is the Victorian trainers. So we are always trying to present for those trainers," he said.

"For the horse to go to Ballymore to Mike Moroney for Paul Moroney Bloodstock is the perfect result for us. We couldn't think of anywhere better for that horse to be."

A perfect fit for Moroneys

Mike Moroney has developed an affinity for the progeny of Swettenham Stud's Toronado, and knows the family well, with his stayer Chapada (Bullet Train {GB}), having run third behind Extra Brut in the 2018 Derby.

"We've had luck with Shelby Cobra and have three or four other Toronados at home. I've even bred mares to him. I saw him win at Royal Ascot when we were there and have followed him all the way through. I just loved the colt, really thought he was a wonderful colt, a great walker and a really athletic sort of horse," he said.

"(Extra Brut) did beat us in the Derby, maybe we are trying to get back. It’s obviously a very good family, and it’s good to see the mare producing these types of horses."

Mike Moroney (left) | Image courtesy of Inglis

Moroney concurred with Arnel that the colt looked a more sharper prospect than his older half-siblings, which includes the 2-year-old with fellow Flemington trainer O'Brien now named Grinzinger King.

"I think he could make a late 2-year-old. He looked pretty sharp to me," Moroney said of the yearling colt. "Toronado himself was a good 2-year-old, and trained on at three. That's the sort of horse I think this colt is.

"We will put a little colts' partnership together, like we did with Alabama Express the year we bought him."

Dom Perion produced a filly by Justify (USA) last spring and then visited Lonhro.

Gilgai gets its wish with star filly

Gilgai Farm held Lot 560, a Choisir filly from the Group 1 winner Costa Viva (Encosta De Lago), in the highest of esteem, with manager Kelly Skillecorn saying she was among the best three fillies that principal Rick Jamieson had ever offered in this Sale.

Waterhouse and Bott Racing and Kestrel Thoroughbreds obviously measured her in a similar manner and with Bloodstock and Sales Manager Claudia Miller doing the bidding, secured her for $400,000, the day's second top lot.

“I am just glad that she has gone to a good home and that is all I wanted to happen. She was a popular filly and two very good judges were on her. Rosemont had a real crack and Gai is obviously one of the best," Skillecorn said.

“I am just glad that she (Lot 560) has gone to a good home and that is all I wanted to happen." - Kelly Skillecorn

“She is a gorgeous filly. We’ve brought some good fillies here and I would rate her top three and I mean we’ve sold Black Caviar and Jameka here, so hopefully she lives up to them.

“She is as good as we have brought here. The last good horse I brought here who I was bragging about was Masked Crusader. We sold Ole Kirk here, but with Masked Crusader, I was certain he was going to be a good horse and I am certain she is going to be a good horse.

“She has been a queen ever since she was born. She has been the leader of the mob. She’s never had a sick day and she’s just thrived the whole time."

Miller holds her nerve

Miller admitted to some nerves as the bidding rose, but she held her focus to get the job done and secure a filly with special qualities.

“They left me in charge, probably to their detriment, but that’s all right. They were here all week and had a look through the catalogue and left me to it," she said.

"She was easily the pick of the fillies for us at this Sale. Obviously Rick Jamieson is an exceptional breeder and she is out of a top-class New Zealand mare, a Group 1 winner, and that Choisir-Encosta De Lago cross is exceptional, so she was a no-brainer for us.

“We got here last Monday and Rick Jamieson’s was one of the first drafts that we went to and she was on our radar from day one.”

Claudia Miller (right) | Image courtesy of Inglis

There have been six stakes winners sourced from the 43 runners by Choisir out of Encosta De Lago mares, including Group 1 winners Japonisme and Divine Prophet.

Miller said she felt the filly would be one which would follow in the footsteps of her dam, who won a G1 New Zealand One Thousand Guineas.

“She is a very much a Classic style of filly. Her mother was a Thousand Guineas winner, so she will probably take a little bit of time, but hopefully not too much," she said.

Costa Viva had a Choisir colt last year and has been given the year off, before a likely date with Ole Kirk in 2021.

Smith strikes for Showcase colt

Bloodstock agent Bevan Smith was one of the more active buyers of the week, getting his name in partnership on eight lots in the Premier Session and another four in the Showcase Session, including the equal top lot at $175,000.

Lot 623, a Flying Artie colt, is out of stakes-placed Headsup (NZ) (Thorn Park), who has already produced the Group 2-placed Sheezathinka (So You Think {NZ}).

Lot 623 - Flying Artie x Headsup (NZ) (colt)

He was purchased for $15,000 as a weanling by Two Bays Farm and successfully pin-hooked through the Premier Sale. Smith partnered with Singaporean owner Kuldeep Singh Rajput.

That price was matched very late in the day by Lot 802, a colt by Written Tycoon offered by Milburn Creek, out of Divine Chills (Artie Schiller {USA}), the half-sister to Group 3 winner Commanding Hope (Commands), he was sold to Byerley Racing Club.

Inglis hails stunning week

Inglis Managing Director Mark Webster was delighted with how the week has progressed, continuing a remarkable 2021 yearling sales season where new heights have been reached at every Sale across Australia so far.

“At this stage, the Premier Session has grossed $63 million which is a fantastic number and it certainly exceeds the previous record set in 2017 of $54 million. Last year, it was $48 million, so compared to last year, it is up 30 per cent and it is up 20 per cent on the previous record in 2017, which is quite remarkable," Webster said.

“There were a similar number of horses who were offered in both of those years, so quite clearly there’s more demand and it’s more at the top of the market. We’re selling double the number of horses over $300,000 compared to last year. The top of the market is very strong.

“The (clearance rate) is up around 85, 86 per cent. Today was a little weaker than the previous two days, but I am sure they will tidy that up."

Jason Richardson, Mark Webster and Caroline Searcy | Image courtesy of Inglis

Ciaron Maher Bloodstock was the leading buyer of the Premier Session, spending $3.27 million across 13 lots, four more than Paul Moroney Bloodstock and Michael Moroney, who purchased nine.

Webster said that with international participation down this year, which is understandable in a time where international travel has been close to impossible, it was great to see the Victorian buyers step up.

“If we look at who has been buying, there’s 16 to Hong Kong, four to Singapore and eight to New Zealand. It is good to have them participating, but the reality is that they are small numbers compared to any normal year here," he said.

"This Sale normally relies on 25 to 30 per cent international participation and we are a long way from that. We’re around five per cent, so it really has been the domestic market which has been carrying the Sale."

"This Sale normally relies on 25 to 30 per cent international participation and we are a long way from that. We’re around five per cent, so it really has been the domestic market which has been carrying the Sale." - Mark Webster

Webster said the most likely cause of such a strong local market was the relative strength of the Australian thoroughbred industry in the COVID-19 era.

“I am completely stunned, really, and it was the same after the Classic Sale which was up 20 per cent. This Sale is up 30 per cent. It is remarkable and I can only put it down to the fact that racing is strong here," he said.

“Some people have probably seen the lack of internationals as a chance to get back involved or go a bit harder than perhaps they might normally do. With every negative, there’s a positive and perhaps the locals figure it is a good thing for them to be able to buy what they want without the internationals here.”

For the fourth time in the past seven years, Blue Gum Farm ended as the leading vendor on aggregate, realising $5.205 million across 25 lots at an average of $208,200.

Glentree Thoroughbreds completed the Sale as the leading vendor on average, with six sales at $330,000 piece.

The top stallion on aggregate in the Premier Session was Arrowfield Stud's Written Tycoon, whose 14 sales totalled $3.6 million, while Yarraman Park's I Am Invincible was the top sire on average on $314,286.

Top lots

70Written TycoonGybeColtBlue Gum Farm, EuroaJames Harron Bloodstock Pty Ltd NSW$1,100,000
504Lord Kanaloa Believe YourselfColtKulani Park, Goulburn WeirCiaron Maher Bloodstock VIC$900,000
226Shalaa Our DaisyColtYulong, NagambieBahen Bloodstock Ltd / Matt Laurie Racing VIC$700,000
287I Am InvincibleRisque ColtVinery Stud, Scone, NSWBusuttin Racing VIC$700,000
87ZoustarHumma MummaFillyFlinders Park Stud, FlindersRedgum Racing Pty Ltd VIC$600,000
492CapitalistAsheerahColtCaithness Breeding, Crowther, NSWBoomer Bloodstock (FBAA) / L Smith VIC$600,000
299Dundeel Ruby FallsColtGlentree Thoroughbreds, ModewarreJohn O'Shea Racing / Suman Hedge Bloodstock (FBAA) NSW$550,000
525Deep FieldBousquetColtGrenville Stud, Whitemore, TasHong Kong Jockey Club HONG KONG$550,000
524Siyouni Bouquet De Flores ColtYulong, NagambieVictorian Alliance / Suman Hedge Bstock (FBAA) / David Redvers Bstock VIC$520,000
118Written TycoonLa HarakaColtSpringmount, RomseyCiaron Maher Bloodstock VIC$480,000

Top buyers

Ciaron Maher BloodstockVIC13$3,270,000$251,538$900,000
Bahen Bloodstock Ltd / Matt Laurie RacingVIC4$2,020,000$505,000$700,000
Paul Moroney Bloodstock / M MoroneyVIC9$1,880,000$208,889$460,000
McEvoy Mitchell / Belmont Bloodstock (FBAA)SA8$1,500,000$187,500$400,000
James Harron Bloodstock Pty LtdNSW2$1,440,000$720,000$1,100,000
Hong Kong Jockey ClubHONG KONG4$1,370,000$342,500$550,000
Griffiths de Kock Racing / Peter Ford T'Breds (FBAA) / Heywood BloodstockVIC9$1,285,000$142,778$260,000
McDonald RacingVIC8$1,215,000$151,875$300,000
Lindsay Park RacingVIC8$1,175,000$146,875$225,000
Boomer Bloodstock (FBAA) / L SmithVIC4$1,070,000$267,500$600,000

Top vendors by aggregate

Blue Gum Farm, Euroa25$5,205,000$208,200$1,100,000
Yulong, Nagambie16$3,360,000$210,000$700,000
Maluka Thoroughbreds, Avenel25$2,964,000$118,560$400,000
Stonehouse Thoroughbreds, Eddington17$2,435,000$143,235$460,000
Yarraman Park Stud, Scone, NSW12$2,230,000$185,833$420,000
Three Bridges Thoroughbreds, Eddington12$2,175,000$181,250$450,000
Milburn Creek, Wildes Meadow, NSW11$2,010,000$182,727$300,000
Glentree Thoroughbreds, Modewarre6$1,980,000$330,000$550,000
Bhima Thoroughbreds, Scone, NSW12$1,890,000$157,500$360,000
Kulani Park, Goulburn Weir9$1,875,000$208,333$900,000

Top vendors by average (three or more sold)

Glentree Thoroughbreds, Modewarre6$330,000$1,980,000$550,000
Flinders Park Stud, Flinders3$321,667$965,000$600,000
Edinburgh Park Stud, Wingham, NSW5$216,000$1,080,000$450,000
Yulong, Nagambie16$210,000$3,360,000$700,000
Kulani Park, Goulburn Weir9$208,333$1,875,000$900,000
Blue Gum Farm, Euroa25$208,200$5,205,000$1,100,000
Longwood Thoroughbred Farm, Longwood East4$192,500$770,000$300,000
Merricks Station, Merricks7$187,143$1,310,000$460,000
Yarraman Park Stud, Scone, NSW12$185,833$2,230,000$420,000
Milburn Creek, Wildes Meadow, NSW11$182,727$2,010,000$300,000

Top sires by aggregate

Written Tycoon14$3,600,000$257,143$1,100,000
So You Think 20$3,060,000$153,000$450,000
Deep Field15$2,965,000$197,667$550,000
Dundeel 16$2,620,000$163,750$550,000
Shalaa 12$2,450,000$204,167$700,000
I Am Invincible7$2,200,000$314,286$700,000
Toronado 15$2,070,000$138,000$460,000

Top sires by average (three or more)

I Am Invincible7$314,286$2,200,000$700,000
Written Tycoon14$257,143$3,600,000$1,100,000
Extreme Choice3$216,667$650,000$420,000
Shalaa 12$204,167$2,450,000$700,000
Deep Field15$197,667$2,965,000$550,000
Almanzor 4$182,500$730,000$360,000
Frosted 4$177,500$710,000$420,000