Book 1 - Final Session

It’s quite astounding that the market has an appetite for first-season horses at that level. It speaks volumes for everyone involved.
— Vin Cox / Magic Millions Managing Director

With the Magic Millions raceday taking center stage on the Gold Coast Saturday afternoon, the sales action shifted to the evening, and was highlighted by vibrant trade and a new sale topper; a Sepoy colt secured by Spendthrift Farm for A$1.2 million. That transaction marked the second time on the week that Sepoy broke the previous Australian record for a first-season sire, the first coming with the sale of an A$850,000 filly on opening day.

"It's quite astounding that the market has an appetite for first-season horses at that level," said Magic Millions Managing Director Vin Cox. "It speaks volumes for everyone involved."

B. Wayne Hughes has scaled the highest heights of American racing, with four of Breeders' Cup victories and a handful Eclipse Awards to his credit, and the Spendthrift Farm owner took a giant step towards expanding his Thoroughbred holdings into Australia when paying A$1.2 million for the colt by first-season sire Sepoy.

Bidding opened at a bold A$400,000 on the late September foal (lot 613), and rocketed up in A$100,000 increments, with Hughes, seated alongside Spendthrift General Manager Ned Toffey, outlasting Hong Kong's George Moore

Toffey noted that Spendthrift is looking to establish a breeding operation in Australia. While they were visiting the Gold Coast sale for the first time, they bought three yearlings at Inglis Easter last year: a pair of Fastnet Rock fillies for A$650,000 and A$400,000, respectively; and a Street Cry colt for A$550,000. Those purchases are now in training with the Hawkes Racing team of John, Wayne and Michael Hawkes.

"We're looking to set up a breeding operation here, and we'd like to shuttle some of our own stallions, but we also thought it was important to have some domestic horses here as well," Toffey explained. He said conformation comes first when Spendthrift selects a horse, but noted the Sepoy colt also had a page to match.

"Number one is always physique, and he was just a great physical, a classy looking horse with a great walk - he looks the part. He just looks like a solid, Australian horse, and there was certainly enough page there." 

Sepoy, Australia's 2 and 3-year-old champion, won four Group 1 races in 2011: the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes and G1 Golden Slipper Stakes, the country's two most important juvenile contests, as well as the G1 Manikato Stakes and the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes as a sophomore.

Saturday's session concluded Book 1 of the sale, which saw 692 horses sold for A$92,022,500 (US$74,370,279), up almost A$17 million on 12 months ago. The average of A$170,728 (US$137,978) was up 18.5%, and the median climbed 8.3% to A$130,000 (US$105,063). The clearance rate a tremendous 85.7%.

"That was just the most extraordinary evening," Cox said upon the conclusion of the session. "The sale tonight, on its own, averaged A$205,000, with a clearance rate of 90%. It just went boom, from the start to the end, with spectacular sales." 

Also prominent at the top end of the market last night was the China Horse Club and John Warren. Cox commented on the international trade, "The international competition is tremendously rewarding from a Magic Millions point of view. We work very hard at attracting the right people. Internationally, all year we've had sensational results."

This year's Book 1 also produced a pair of A$1 million-plus results, compared to one last year and some 20 horses that fetched a half-million dollars or more. Only six achieved that level in 2014.

"From our point of view, that gives us a massive platform for the next 12 months to attract even better horses for next year," Cox said.

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News