inglis sale newmarket 1906
inglis sale newmarket 1906

Inglis Yearling Sale, Newmarket, Sydney, 1906

(Photo : Inglis)


A couple of years ago, two of the world’s best known horse auction houses teamed up in a cross shareholding arrangement in their respective businesses. Tattersalls in England was founded as long ago as 1766 by Richard Tattersall, who staked his claim to a prime piece of real estate in the heart of what was to become racing’s headquarters, in Newmarket, England, which had been proclaimed thus by Charles II, ruling monarch of the time.

The Inglis family were Scots migrants to Australia in as 1867, and they too, staked their claim to what has become one of that country’s landmark horse auction sites, based at the Australian version of Newmarket, on the doorstep of Royal Randwick racecourse in Sydney.

The contrast in the racing economies of England and Australia right now is as stark as the contrasting styles of the auctioneers of these two grand institutions, and last week in Melbourne we were treated to a display of some of the finest bantering in the world. You’d be tempted to suggest that it was the auctioneers that lifted the sale some 35% beyond last year, but we’d need to remember that these self-same men were on the podium at the 2009 version as well, so you’d have to give credit for the years result to an already bubbling Australian economy.

Those that know the Aussies on the sports fields, know their spirit, and that when their tails are up, they’re hard to stop. It was like that in Melbourne this last week, where anything decent posted healthy gains over last year’s business. The clearance rate (79%) could’ve been better, though, as some vendors were clearly carried away with the euphoria of what people are prepared to pay for their moment of glory.

The Summerhill team has become a regular “shopper” at the Premier Sale, and we’ve seen a leapfrogging in the quality of the catalogue over the past few years. This was the venue which produced Cape Guineas (Gr.1) hero, Le Drakkar, two years go, and it was good to see the Form Organisation and Hassan Adams hard at work upholding South Africa’s reputation for big spending. Jehan Malherbe and his sidekick, Dean Kannemeyer, were twice beaten on the top colt and the top filly (at Aus$400 000), but they probably found better value shopping in the $200 000 range.

Our team were probably fortunate in securing three outstanding prospects, for the variety and flair they will provide when they come under the hammer at November’s Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale.

The Aussies know how to look after their customers better than any nation on earth, and it’s a tribute to John Messara’s foresight that he’s managed to turn Aushorse, the commercial branch of their Thoroughbred Breeders Association, into a wallet- wrenching machine which compels you to spend your money.

Aushorse is run by erstwhile Federal Minister of Agriculture, Peter McGauran, and its “public” face, Rowena Smith, a recent visitor to Summerhill, alongside Inglis’ indefatigable Simon Vivian and never-give-up Bloodstocker, Paul Guy.