Bowditch hails incredible Sale, aggregate touches $229 million

10 min read
Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale closed Book 1 on Saturday night with a record taking just shy of $229 million, dominated by firsts, sparking high emotions for both buyers and sellers as four million-dollar-plus horses were knocked down.

Cover image courtesy of Magic Millions

At A Glance

Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale closed Book 1 on Saturday night with a record taking, up considerably from last year, the average of $294,476 up from $251,095 and aggregate of $228,807,500 ($199,118,000).

The clearance rate at 92.72 per cent at the closing of Book 1 up from 89.71 per cent last year.

There have been 19 yearlings sell for more than $1 million, four of those coming on Saturday's after-race Sale as celebrations played out following the win of the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Coolangatta (Written Tycoon) in the R. Listed Magic Millions 2YO Classic.

Arrowfield, Fernrigg Farm, Widden Stud and Newgate all had million-dollar lot sales, Newgate notching up four for the Sale and emerging as top vendor with $18,810,000 in sales, ahead of Arrowfield with $15,340,000 while Silverdale Farm had the highest average at $612,500 and Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm next on $490,000.

Ciaron Maher Bloodstock was the biggest buyer of the Sale, by number and value, buying 35 yearlings for a total value of $13,335,000 at an average price of $381,000. Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and Kestrel Thoroughbreds were next with 27 horses for $10,995,000.

The top lot of Book 1 was a $1.9 million I Am Invincible colt purchased by Tom Magnier of Coolmore Stud from the Newgate Farm draft.

Managing Director Barry Bowditch said the Sale would be seen globally as one of the most significant sales in auction history.

On the last day of the Sale, James Harron Bloodstock, A List Stud, Sheamus Mills Bloodstock (FBAA) and Tony Fung Investments all made $1 million buys.

The Autumn Sun teased the million-dollar sale mark twice, with a filly and a colt each falling just one bid shy of breaking through that ceiling for the first-season sires.

It included an uplifting first million-dollar lot for Fernrigg Farm, an Exceed And Excel colt, a Lonhro filly hitting $1.05 million to get the tears flowing for owners who raced it's dam Cool Passion (Not A Single Doubt); and the first million-dollar buy for Hong Kong’s A List Stud.

A colt and a filly from the first crop of The Autumn Sun also soared close to the million-dollar mark, selling for $925,000 and $950,000, respectively.

The Autumn Sun | Standing at Arrowfield Stud

Magic Millions Managing Director Barry Bowditch said the Sale will be seen as one of the most significant sales ever held in the history of auctions with a 93 per cent clearance rate, an average price of just under $295,000 and a median price of $230,000. And he has no reason to think it cannot continue to climb.

“The fundamentals of racing here in Australia are in a very strong position,’’ he said. “Is it sustainable? Why not?

“I think the parameters for our industry are sustainable. Our prizemoney is so good, it’s an industry that our culture engages in and people want to own a horse.

“I think the parameters for our industry are sustainable. Our prizemoney is so good, it’s an industry that our culture engages in and people want to own a horse." - Barry Bowditch

“The syndicator model is so great and trainers want to bring people into the game. The information that they share with their clients gives everyone a journey whether they own one per cent of a horse or a whole horse.’’

First of four million-dollar moments

Sheamus Mills Bloodstock, already twice laying down one million-plus for horses in the Sale, got the million-dollar lots off to a start, purchasing a Lonhro filly out of a Not A Single Doubt mare Cool Passion who was raced by the McDonnell family for 11 wins, including at Group 2 level and with a Group 1 second-place to her name. Mills paid $1.05 million.

Lot 877 - Lonhro x Cool Passion (filly) | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

Cool Passion’s owners, John and Anne, and Brad McDonnell were ecstatic with the result of the sale from the Widden Stud draft.

“We couldn’t be happier, it’s an amazing result,’’ Brad McDonnell said. “You dare to dream in these situations that you get that good result but it’s blown us all away.’’

“We’ve had a few others (sell) but this is the first foal for Cool Passion. We’ve followed the journey through for the past few years building up to this moment and I know Mum and Dad will be at home crying and celebrating.’’.

Sheamus Mills | Image courtesy of Bronwen Healy

Mills said he had kept coming back to the horse over and over, describing it as a Lonhro the likes of which he had never seen before and one that he went home at night thinking about.

“She had a walk on her you rarely see on a horse, she’s by a Champion Broodmare Sire out of a fantastic-running Not A Single Doubt mare who I think will be a champion broodmare in time. I just loved everything about her to be honest. I fell in love the first time I saw her,’’ Mills said.

“She (Lot 877) had a walk on her you rarely see on a horse, she’s by a Champion Broodmare Sire out of a fantastic-running, Not A Single Doubt mare (Cool Passion) who I think will be a champion broodmare in time." - Sheamus Mills

“I bought a few horses earlier in the week but I also stayed off a few for her. I’m over the moon to get her. It is a high price for a Lonhro but they don’t make them like that.

“There’s substance, the walk, the attitude. I think a lot of it comes out of Not A Single Doubt. It’s basically the best Not A Single Doubt you’ve ever seen with the skin of a Lonhro… as in the colour. She was the perfect combination of her sire and her dam sire."

Fernrigg breaks through

When James Harron Bloodstock outlaid $1.2 million for an Exceed And Excel colt out of Devious Rumor (USA) (Street Boss {USA}) it nearly brought Fernrigg Farm owner Rae-Louise Kelly to tears of celebration.

Lot 910 - Exceed And Excel x Devious Rumour (USA) (colt) | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

“That was unbelievable,’’ she said. “We bought the mare three years ago and she lost her first foal. We put her in foal to Exceed (And Excel). We knew when he was born he was something special but that was just… his reserve was $300,000 so that just completely blew us.

“I don’t think we’ll sleep for the next week now. That is our first million-dollar horse."

Harron said Saturday night is never a time he wanted to buy a horse as it’s always quite highly anticipated waiting for it.

Rae-Louise and Padraig Kelly

“He was a colt that when we first saw him was on the very top of the list and we’re very pleased to get him,’’ said Harron. “He’s just a very sharp horse, he’s got a fantastic attitude. Great shape, great movement and Exceed And Excel needs no introduction. He’s out of a good American speedy mare and just suits our profile down to the ground."

Golden Slipper on the A List

A List Stud owner, Hong Kong-based Chris Lee purchased the stable’s first ever million-dollar horse, a Snitzel filly out of Divine Centuri (I Am Invincible) for $1 million from the Newgate Farm Draft, which had four million-dollar sales across the week.

“I’m feeling so excited to get this filly,’’ Lee said. “The Snitzel out of the I Am Invincible mare is a good cross and I really liked the page. When she walked out in the ring, you can look at her and every time the action and the way that she moved, she was so relaxed and that’s why we thinks she’s a Golden Slipper filly.’’

“The Snitzel out of the I Am Invincible mare is a good cross and I really liked the page. When she (Lot 917) walked out in the ring, you can look at her and every time the action and the way that she moved, she was so relaxed and that’s why we thinks she’s a Golden Slipper filly.’’ - Chris Lee

Gold Coast trainer Allan Chau, who also is from Hong Kong will train the horse with the Magic Millions race series the first target.

Newgate’s Henry Field said the Snitzel filly was out of a very fast I Am Invincible mare.

“She was a filly that we thought was super athletic, there was an amazing amount of competition on her, I think there were seven or eight individual bidders about 300, it was like a machine gun of bids, left, right and centre,’’ Field said. “I’m very confident that filly will run.’’

Late play

With just a few horses left to go through the sales ring, Tony Fung made a million dollar play at a Snitzel colt out of Dream Date (Stracraft {NZ}), a half-sister to Not A Single Doubt, out of the Arrowfield Stud draft.

Tony Fung | Image courtesy of Browen Healy

Fung’s racing manager Sally Williams said they were not sure on a trainer for the prized yearling that was “athletic, beautiful and lovely-moving with a stallion’s pedigree’’.

“We’ll take him home and get him broken in and decide on that at a later date. He was one of our picks of the Sale and we’re delighted to get him,’’ Williams said.

Arrowfield’s John Messara said Tony Fung Investments had been strong supporters of Snitzel.

Lot 930 - Snitzel x Dream Date (colt) | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

“He’s a really good-looking horse with a real stallion's pedigree,’’ Messara said. "He’s out of a sister to Not A Single Doubt so we knew he was going to be popular and he fetched about what we thought he was going to be worth really.’’

Close for The Autumn Sun

Former AFL footballers Shane Crawford and Fraser Brown teamed up with Mornington Peninsula trainer Matt Laurie and a bunch of mates of over 30 years to take home the most expensive The Autumn Sun yearling at the Sale and almost bring up the first million dollar sale of Saturday night.

Out of Champagne Run (USA) (More Than Ready {USA}) they paid $925,000 for the filly in Lot 849, with Laurie saying she was from a nice, progressive filly family with a lot to like about her.

Gallery: The Autumn Sun's highest-priced yearlings of the Sale, images courtesy of Magic Millions

“We love the filly. She’s very much an athlete and quite a forward horse, I thought, even though maybe you wouldn’t expect that from an Autumn Sun,’’ Laurie said.

Then a colt by the sire and out of Duchess Kate (NZ) (Savabeel) and out of the Kitchwin Hills draft went a little better late in the Sale to up the highest price paid for the first foals from The Autumn Sun, with the colt selling for $950,000.

The first session of Book 2 commences at 2pm local (3pm AEDT) on Sunday.

Top lots

910Exceed And ExcelDevious RumourCFernrigg FarmJames Harron Bloodstock Colt Partnership$1,200,000
877LonhroCool PassionFWidden StudSheamus Mills Bloodstock (FBAA)$1,050,000
930SnitzelDream DateCArrowfield StudTony Fung Investments$1,050,000
917SnitzelDivine CenturiFNewgate FarmA List Stud Pty Ltd$1,000,000
932The Autumn SunDuchess KateCKitchwin HillsBahen Bloodstock/ Kris Lees Racing$950,000
849The Autumn SunChampagne RunFArrowfield StudMatt Laurie Racing/ ARJB Racing$925,000
865Trapeze ArtistCocoa DollCMill Park StudPhillip Stokes Racing$850,000
871LonhroConcubineCMarquee StudLindsay Park Racing$700,000
873SnitzelConsistencyCRosemont StudGai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott/ Kestrel Thoroughbreds$625,000
929Trapeze ArtistDream 'N' BelieveCWidden StudCiaron Maher Bloodstock$550,000

Top buyers

Ciaron Maher Bloodstock35$13,335,000 $381,000 $1,500,000
Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott/Kestrel Thoroughbreds27$10,995,000 $407,222 $900,000
China Horse Club/Newgate Bloodstock/Trilogy Racing14$6,990,000 $499,286 $850,000
Tony Fung Investments16$5,970,000 $373,125 $1,050,000
Chris Waller Racing/Mulcaster Bloodstock15$5,910,000 $394,000 $650,000
Mick Wallace As Agent For Freedman Brothers14$5,285,000 $377,500 $600,000
Tom Magnier4$5,100,000 $1,275,000 $1,900,000
Legend Racing Pty Ltd8$3,825,000 $478,125 $900,000
Annabel Neasham/Brian McGuire13$3,540,000 $272,308 $500,000
Sheamus Mills Bloodstock (FBAA)3$3,500,000 $1,166,667 $1,550,000

Top vendors by aggregate

Newgate Farm, Aberdeen, NSW45$18,810,000 $418,000 $1,900,000
Arrowfield Stud, Scone, NSW50$15,340,000 $306,800 $1,050,000
Widden Stud, Widden Valley, NSW41$14,125,000 $344,512 $1,250,000
Yarraman Park Stud, Scone, NSW32$12,270,000 $383,438 $1,100,000
Segenhoe Stud, Scone, NSW26$12,070,000 $464,231 $1,700,000
Coolmore Stud, Jerrys Plains, NSW35$11,315,000 $323,286 $900,000
Vinery Stud, Scone, NSW26$7,850,000 $301,923 $650,000
Sledmere Stud, Scone, NSW22$7,420,000 $337,273 $1,300,000
Yulong, Nagambie, Vic21$6,310,000 $300,476 $900,000
Baramul Stud, Widden Valley, NSW20$5,360,000 $268,000 $600,000

Top vendors by average (3 or more sold)

Silverdale Farm, Avoca, NSW6$612,500 $3,675,000 $1,350,000
Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm, Corinella, Vic3$490,000 $1,470,000 $1,100,000
Strawberry Hill Stud, Mt White, NSW7$481,429 $3,370,000 $950,000
Emirates Park, Murrurundi, NSW10$466,000 $4,660,000 $1,550,000
Segenhoe Stud, Scone, NSW26$464,231 $12,070,000 $1,700,000
Fernrigg Farm, Denman, NSW6$463,333 $2,780,000 $1,200,000
Milburn Creek, Wildes Meadow, NSW10$419,500 $4,195,000 $800,000
Newgate Farm, Aberdeen, NSW45$418,000 $18,810,000 $1,900,000
Yarraman Park Stud, Scone, NSW32$383,438 $12,270,000 $1,100,000

Top sires by aggregate

I Am Invincible 44$23,830,000 $541,591 $1,900,000
Snitzel 38$19,805,000 $521,184 $1,350,000
Zoustar 43$18,375,000 $427,326 $1,300,000
Deep Field 48$14,130,000 $294,375 $1,000,000
The Autumn Sun 28$10,750,000 $383,929 $950,000
Written Tycoon 29$10,520,000 $362,759 $800,000
Capitalist 37$8,155,000 $220,405 $750,000
Trapeze Artist 27$7,115,000 $263,519 $850,000
Russian Revolution 29$6,905,000 $238,103 $600,000
Justify 23$6,900,000 $300,000 $900,000

Top sires by average (3 or more sold)

Not A Single Doubt 11$589,091 $6,480,000 $1,700,000
I Am Invincible 44$541,591 $23,830,000 $1,900,000
Snitzel 38$521,184 $19,805,000 $1,350,000
Savabeel 3$516,667 $1,550,000 $950,000
Lope De Vega 5$474,000 $2,370,000 $700,000
Zoustar 43$427,326 $18,375,000 $1,300,000
Fastnet Rock 8$422,500 $3,380,000 $675,000
Pierro 15$402,333 $6,035,000 $1,500,000
Extreme Choice 9$399,444 $3,595,000 $700,000
Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale
The Autumn Sun
Exceed And Excel
Fernrigg Farm
Sheamus Mills Bloodstock
A List Stud
Newgate Farm
Widden Stud
Cool Passion
Devious Rumour
Divine Centuri
Dream Date
Tony Fung
Arrowfield Stud
Champagne Run
Duchess Kate