Fastnet Rock colt tops Day 1 at Karaka

Expectations were blown out of the water at Karaka on Monday with Australasia’s first million dollar yearling of the year heading a day of highlights at the NZ Bloodstock 2010 Premier Sale.

A Fastnet Rock colt from Popsy (Sir Tristram) topped the first session when he was knocked down to Singapore buyer Jayven See for NZ$1,000,000.  Offered by Tom & Shelley Murtagh’s Esker Lodge, the colt is the highest priced yearling ever sold to Singapore from the New Zealand sale ring.

Tom Murtagh says while a trainer hasn’t been finalised for the colt the plan is to keep him in New Zealand.  “He has been bought to race here in New Zealand and possibly Australia into the future,” he said.  “But will definitely be entered for the Karaka Million as a two-year-old next year.

“Jayven had his first major success with a horse he bought from Esker Lodge (Revolte) so he was happy to go on my recommendation and try again.  He likes Fastnet Rock and loved this colt as a type and we’re thrilled that he’s had the confidence in Esker to step out in such a big way.”

After 242 lots, last year’s figures were left in the dust as the turnover increased by almost $7 million compared with the same stage in the sale last year.  The average and median followed suit with the current average price $184,181, 24% up on last year, and a very strong median of $140,000 up a whopping 40% from $100,000.  The clearance rate is a shade under this stage last year at 76%.

A strong and diverse buying bench competed for the yearlings on offer, with the Australian buyers a dominant force.  Leading the list by the end of day one was Graeme Rogerson who was accompanied ringside by prominent Melbourne owner Nick Williams.

With 10 yearlings bought for $2.18m, the group’s top price of the day was $500,000 paid for the Encosta de Lago colt from Liberty Walk (Zabeel) from Haunui Farm.

The only other buyer in double figures so far is leading Caulfield trainer, Peter Moody, with 12 yearlings purchased for $1.77m.  Moody’s top price of the day was also by top Australian sire Encosta de Lago, with a colt (Lot 36) from the family of Alinghi secured for $260,000 from Curraghmore Stud.

New Zealand Bloodstock Co-Managing Director Petrea Vela says the Day 1 trade surpassed all pre-sale expectations.  “The strength of the sale has been overwhelming.  For the median to be just over $5,000 shy of last year’s final Premier Sale average is one of the clearest indicators of just how strong it was.

“We were confident from the enquiries we’d had from around the world before the sale that our catalogue had been received well and that the buyers were very positive about the line up of horses on offer. But we hadn’t expected to see such a dramatic increase on last year’s results.”

With a million dollar horse to his credit it was no surprise that Coolmore Stud’s Fastnet Rock headed the sires table for the day, with three others sold for an average of $432,500.

As many anticipated, first season sire Darci Brahma has got off to a flying start with 19 yearlings sold for an average of $153,684 to make him the leading freshman sire of the day.

Cambridge Stud is on track to keep its 27 year reign intact, finishing the day the leading vendor by aggregate with 19 sold for an average of $207,632.

Day 2 of the Karaka Premier Sale continue on Tuesday.