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Inglis opens doors to new Riverside Stables sales complex

Lydia Symonds reports from the opening of the pristine auction venue

The 144-room William Inglis hotel towers over the parade grounds and barns, with Warwick Farm racecourse to the left just out of sight
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The Inglis Riverside Stables sales complex was officially opened on Monday by Stuart Ayres, Minister for Western Sydney, ahead of Saturday's Classic Yearling Sale, the first to take place at the auction house's new venue at Warwick Farm.

The historic move, which has taken Inglis from the Newmarket complex in Randwick in East Sydney to Warwick Farm racecourse in Western Sydney, was marked by the planting of a sapling taken from the historic Moreton Bay Fig that towered over the sale ring at the Newmarket venue.

Inglis managing director Mark Webster, the driving force behind the project first proposed in 2008, said he was proud of the company's feats in planning, constructing and opening Riverside Stables.

"Today has been ten years in the making and to see how magnificent the hotel and auction grounds are, it's a truly gratifying moment in the company's history,'' said Webster.

"A lot of work from a lot of people has gone into this creation that we are today proud to show off to the world.''

This fig tree is just one of a plethora of links back to the Newmarket complex.

The same timber from the original Newmarket barns has been used to construct the 11 new barns around the site, while there is also a replica of the iconic Newmarket barn, which will house the draft of Arrowfield Stud at both this year's Classic Yearling and Easter Yearling sales.

The Yearling

Visitors to the complex will also be greeted by a striking, three-metre high sculpture named The Yearling. Designed by sculptor Tanya Bartlett, the work was unveiled by the legendary race caller John Tapp on Monday, who said it epitomised the trade in young thoroughbreds.

"What a pity that the pioneers of this wonderful company can't be here this morning to watch these proceedings," said Tapp. "The facilities here at Riverside for buyers and spectators will take your breath away."

"The Yearling captures the familiar sight of a nervous yearling about to dash into the sale ring under the control of an expert handler.

"This is the sight that that excited and inspired potential owners ever since John Inglis I purchased that bloodstock agency back in 1906.

"This is the sight that would have inspired Peter Moody to shell out A$210,000 for a filly by Bel Esprit at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale in Melbourne a few years ago and the syndicate who took her off Moody's hands and called her Black Caviar.

"There are so many stories that have emanated through the Inglis yearling sales over the past 112 years, most of them generated by a surge of adrenaline that horse lovers experience when they see a wild eyed yearling dash into the ring, nostrils flared and every vein on his neck standing up."

The Yearling, described by John Tapp as the epitome of buying and selling youngstock

The complex

The A$140 million (£79.2 million/€89 million) project is built on 26 acres of land at overlooking Warwick Farm racecourse and includes The William Inglis, a luxury boutique hotel boasting 144 rooms.

Stuart Ayres, Minister of Western Sydney, said Riverside Stables was an outstanding addition to the region's landscape, not only as an equine auction house but also as a purpose-built event centre.

"The creation of this first-in-class racing and entertainment precinct by the country's oldest thoroughbred auctioneers is testament to the appeal of Western Sydney as an investment opportunity," said Ayres.

"The Riverside Stables will bring hundreds of jobs to Western Sydney and see thousands of visitors from around the country and the world flock to the region - as part of a new wave of investment and tourism."

Each room in the hotel is themed and named after a Group 1-winning Inglis graduate.

The diversity of the Riverside Stables complex was also showcased on Monday with guests treated to lunch in the sales auditorium, the very spot where the first horse will enter the ring at 6pm on Saturday evening, beginning a new chapter for the Inglis.

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The Yearling captures the familiar sight of a nervous yearling about to dash into the sale ring under the control of an expert handler
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