2009 inglis melbourne premier yearling sale2009 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale
(Photo : Inglis Bloodstock)

Session 1 at the 2009 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale concluded with a 42 per cent retreat in gross. While that figure sounds disastrous, it must be remembered that last year’s figures broke records, so comparisons in this year of global economic downturn are always going to be severe, writes Darryl Sherer for Australia & New Zealand Bloodstock News.

413 yearlings were sold over three days for a gross of $23.05 million (down 42%) at an average of $55,815 (down 34%) and a median of $45,000 (down 31%). Inglis Bloodstock believes that private sales will continue to boost the final clearance figure of 73% over the next few days.

“The breadth of the buying bench was a feature of this sale, with buyers coming from all over Australia and internationally from major centres like Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa,” said Mark Webster, Inglis Managing Director.

The highest priced lot yesterday was $280,000 for a colt by More Than Ready (USA) out of Illuminar, consigned by John Cornish’s Torryburn Stud, knocked down to Inglis as agent. Tuesday’s Redoute’s Choice-Celtic Reign colt, which sold for $365,000, remained the sale topping lot.

For long periods it seemed as if buyers were in control and, even allowing for a sparsely populated auditorium, when an attractive colt entered the ring there was competition. While it would be easy to focus on the declines, it is important to note that 60 lots - essentially 10 per cent of the catalogue - sold for $100,000 or more while 25 topped $150,000.

“All of the same buyers from previous years were here, but it’s clear they have reduced budgets under the current economic conditions and nobody is immune from what is happening in the world at the moment,” said Mark Webster at the sale‘s end. “The results for this sale are consistent with other sales from Australia and New Zealand this year.

“Post sale, vendors are accepting this re-adjustment phase and the fact that buyers can now be more selective about how much they are willing to spend. All horses passed over the last three days will still be available for private sale for the next 30 days and I am sure we will see many more horses traded in that period.”

Following on from their strong support of the Classic Sale, Patinack Farm were the leading buyers during Premier 1, finishing with 17 yearlings for a total spend of $1.5 million.

Tony Santic’s Makybe had some well-presented horses and they sold accordingly, ensuring Makybe topped the vendors by gross with 15 selling for $1.425 million. Yallambee Stud (19 for $1.3 million), Blue Gum Farm (15 for $1.147 million) and Three Bridges Thoroughbreds (11 for $1.06 million) also exceeded the $1 million mark during the sale.

Ultra Thoroughbreds were the leading vendor by average (for 3 or more sold), with eight yearlings selling at an average of $102,812. South Australia’s Mill Park Stud sold six at $102,500. Elvstroem was the leading sire by aggregate, with 27 selling for $1.243 million, while Vinery Stud’s More Than Ready was the leading sire by average with three selling at $163,333.

A consistent talking point amongst breeders and buyers this week is stallion fees. With the 2009 rosters about to be announced, it would seem unfeasible for more than a handful of stallions to entertain a fee increase. As one prominent breeder told Australia & New Zealand Bloodstock News, “If the average is down 30 per cent then service fees should come down by 30 per cent - although I doubt it will happen.”