Diminished buying bench blamed as Melbourne Premier fails to keep pace
Godolphin top book 1 with A$500,000 daughter of Coolmore's Fastnet Rock
Inglis managing director Mark Webster was left to lament the absence of a number of significant buyers after book 1 of the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale failed to match the heights scaled by yearling sales in Australia in 2018 to date.
At the conclusion of the three days of book 1 on Tuesday, a total of 422 yearlings had sold for an aggregate of A$49.9 million, at an average of A$118,333. The median closed at A$100,000, while the clearance rate was 83 per cent.
That followed a record breaking 2017 edition of the sale, which posted an aggregate of A$54 million, an average of A$120,262 and a clearance rate of 88 per cent. The median remained consistent at A$100,000.
While far from despondent, Webster pointed to the fact significant international buyers like the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the embattled South African businessman Markus Jooste had been missed. He also highlighted a significant drop in spending by domestic trainers.
"The results are on par with last year, so I don’t think there is any great cause for concern, but we will analyse the numbers and come up with ideas that we can do better," Webster said.
"The Hong Kong Jockey Club was in the top five buyers last year, so their lack of involvement has no doubt had an impact and the other impact would be from South Africa, with Markus Jooste downselling 400 of his horses.
"We had a look at the top ten Victorian buyers last year and collectively they spent A$10.2 million. This year that same top ten buyers spent A$5 million, so there has been a change in the mix.
"Some of that slack has been taken up by Godolphin or James Harron, John Hawkes and Gerald Ryan and a range of other parties, but there are questions to be asked about the Victorian buying bench."
Godolphin, who have re-emerged as a buyer at this year's yearling sales, were among those active on the penultimate day of the sale and it was the latest example of the thawing of relations between Sheikh Mohammed’s operation and Coolmore that led to the highest priced lot of book 1.
A daughter of reverse shuttler Fastnet Rock went the way of Godolphin's Australian division for A$500,000 and racing and bloodstock manager Jason Walsh is hopeful the filly will prove to be an asset both on the track and in a future broodmare career.
"We haven’t bought many yearlings In Australia for a long time but she looks to be a very sharp, strong filly with a great attitude and from a farm who has been a great supporter of ours," said Walsh.
Consigned by Rushton Park, the filly is the second foal out of the Group Three-winning mare Lady Melksham, who is herself a half-sister to the stakes-placed son of More Than Ready, Poised To Win.
The purchase brings to 16 the number of yearlings secured by Godolphin at auction in Australia in 2018 and Walsh added: "we look forward to going to the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale [April 9-11]."
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