The Inglis Classic Sale, to be conducted from February 6-8 at the Riverside Stables in Sydney, retains the successful format of the past two editions, with 660 yearlings catalogued in Book 1, a rise of 30 from 2021, and 150 for the Highway Session, a slight reduction.
The diversification of the catalogue, long a hallmark of the Classic Sale, has been retained with the number of vendors very similar to what it was in 2021, down from 76 to 75, and the number of stallions represented also pretty much on par on 107, as compared to 108 in 2021.
Sebastian Hutch, newly appointed as Inglis Bloodstock CEO, said that the 2022 catalogue was a further evolution of the formula which had propelled the Classic Sale to strong results in recent years and had facilitated the emergence of an array of elite graduates from the Sale.
"We feel the quality has increased progressively, year on year. Vendors get better results at the Sale each year, sell better horses, hence buyers are buying better stock and consequently the results on the racetrack are improved," he said.
"It's a cyclical thing, you get better stock, then better results, then more quality stock and better results again. I think it’s a Sale that is going to keep growing and growing."
"It's a cyclical thing, you get better stock, then better results, then more quality stock and better results again. I think it’s a Sale that is going to keep growing and growing." - Sebastian Hutch
The results of the 2021 Classic Sale, which was the first to feature a Book 1 average of over $100,000 and an aggregate of over $50 million, support that suggestion and Hutch said the focus in 2022 was very much about accessing the best available physical types, with a focus on vendors which have proven successful in the Sale before.
"In terms of physique, we feel this is the strongest group of horses we have put together for the Sale. I can only speak for my relatively short time with the company but the guys that have been here a lot longer, feel this is a particularly strong group of horses with how we rate them. I feel that is a very important feature of the Sale," Hutch said.
"Across the board, the mandate when you are putting together a yearling sale is to pull together as many good-looking, well-bred horses that you can.
"We made a conscious effort that we want to be selling as many horses for particular vendors as we can. We want to bring forward those breeders who have a proven track record of producing good horses.
"We want to bring forward those breeders who have a proven track record of producing good horses." - Sebastian Hutch
"That's a very important feature of the behaviour of the buying bench. Very clearly, there is a preference towards people with that proven track record."
In terms of the leading vendors by number in the catalogue, Newgate is most represented with 58, followed by Widden Stud with 48, Sledmere with 32, Vinery Stud with 30 and then Arrowfield Stud with 29.
The growing graduate success
The fact that there have been 10 Group 1-winning Classic Sale graduates since 2018 as well three winners of the $2 million R. Listed Inglis Millennium is something Inglis is obviously keen to highlight, and Hutch said that success on the track is how buyers ultimately judge the Sale.
"The Sale has produced a lot of very significant horses in a short space of time, whether it is races like the Melbourne Cup, the Golden Slipper or The Everest. The list is very extensive of good races won by graduates of the Sale in the past few years," Hutch said.
"Even branching out into the stallion market, the Sale has now established a very strong group of graduates that have gone on to be good stallions.
"Even branching out into the stallion market, the Sale has now established a very strong group of graduates that have gone on to be good stallions." - Sebastian Hutch
"I Am Invincible is a graduate of the Sale, Choisir, Brazen Beau and now Extreme Choice, who is arguably the most exciting young stallion, certainly in Australasia, and maybe among the most exciting in the world. You had to go to the Classic Yearling Sale to buy him.
"It just re-enforces the point that it’s a Sale that the market needs to continue to take very seriously. The book that has been assembled for the Sale this year is one that will really invigorate people and really stimulate people."
Gallery: Several of the successful sires that are graduates of the Inglis Classic Sale
The importance of opportunity
Hutch said that while the Inglis Classic Sale has continued to build its profile, and as a result the average price of yearlings through the ring, he still believed it upheld its reputation as a 'market of opportunity' for people across the buying spectrum.
"We have always felt that this Sale has a reputation of being the best value yearling sale in Australasia. I feel the figures bear that out. It’s a sale that people approach with real enthusiasm. Irrespective of what end of the market you are shopping at, you can go to Classic and find what you want," he said.
"The Sale really does give everybody in what we would describe as a value price bracket encouragement to participate."
"The Sale really does give everybody in what we would describe as a value price bracket encouragement to participate." - Sebastian Hutch
Again, Inglis leans on its graduate record to back up this point, with eight of those 10 Group 1-winning graduates since 2018 having cost $100,000 or less.
Positive market poised to continue into 2022
The build-up to the 2022 Inglis Classic Sale will be held in clear air for the first time, with the decision of New Zealand Bloodstock to push its National Yearling Sale at Karaka back to March. While Hutch said only time will tell if that makes a difference to the market, he doesn't expect it to be a major factor.
"It might just give buyers a little bit more time to prepare for the Classic Sale, but I think we are pretty confident of running a good sale independent of the scheduling of other sales," he said.
"We will just concentrate on getting the best result for our vendors and ensuring as many of our buyers as possible go home happy."
As for the prospect of what the 2022 yearling market might look like, compared to a surprisingly bullish 2021 selling season, Hutch felt there was certainly plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
"Going into 2022, there is every reason for people to be optimistic that if you have quality product and you manage that quality product appropriately that there is a capacity to achieve a good result at public auction," he said.
"There is a reason for people to be optimistic that if you have quality product and you manage that quality product appropriately that there is a capacity to achieve a good result at public auction." - Sebastian Hutch
"From an Inglis point of view, we look at the record of our sales for producing good horses for people and it’s exceptionally good.
"Australia has been well-documented as a place where quality stock is accessible through the commercial market more so than any other part of the world. That gives those people looking to invest a reason to be very excited about the opportunities to be involved in the Australian market."