The first day of Arqana’s Deauville yearling sale on Friday saw a 27% drop in average price but the mood on the ground was far from despondent.
Trade was impacted by a major dip in Maktoum spending, with Sheikh Mohammed’s advisor John Ferguson paying €580,000 for just three yearlings. On last year’s opening day he spent €2.77 million on five yearlings on what is widely regarded as the most prestigious session of the four-day auction.
Just as significantly, Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud operation made no purchases on opening day having been leading buyer last season, spending €2.62 million on 12 yearlings.
Galileo yearlings topped the leader-board with four lots in the Top 5 including a filly out of Clara Bow that led the session. Consigned by Haras d’Etreham, she was purchased by Charles Gordon-Watson for €600,000.
“The quality on offer was as good as last year, yet the market proved difficult,” Arqana president Eric Hoyeau said. “The diversity of buyers above €200,000 is a positive sign but buyers seem to be setting themselves strict limitations.”