YuLong Investments goes for gold with Group 2 scorer Gregers
Admirable racemare tops the three-day sale at A$1.75 million
Million-dollar lots book-ended the third and final select session of a blockbuster renewal of the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast in Australia on Thursday.
The top lot came early in the day, when the high-class six-year-old mare Gregers was sent through the ring by Burke Bloodstock.
The daughter of Commands was an admirable performer on the track for David Hayes and Tom Dabernig, winning six races including the Group 2 MRC Thousand Guineas Prelude and finishing placed at the highest level on three occasions – in the MRC Thousand Guineas, William Hill Classic and Robert Sangster Classic.
She also has a deep pedigree and was offered with an attractive cover by Written Tycoon, the sire of last year's Golden Slipper hero Capitalist.
Bidding for Gregers surged from an opening offer of A$500,000 and became tactical past the seven-figure mark with the auctioneer resorting to teasing bids in A$50,000 increments from the last men standing: Jon Freyer, the Arrowfield Stud bloodstock manager acting on behalf of Katsumi Yoshida, and Sheamus Mills, agent for Chinese billionaire Zhang Yuesheng's YuLong Investments.
It was Mills who had the final say at A$1.75 million (£1m/€1.15m), a price that makes her the most expensive mare sold at Magic Millions all week, trumping the A$1.7m given by the China Horse Club for Group 2 scorer Nurse Kitchen on Tuesday.
“It's a family that has been developing over the last ten years or so and she was Mr Zhang's favourite mare in the sale, even though we've bought a couple already,” said Mills.
“She had it all – she's a fast, good-looking young mare, she has a brilliant sister [Group 3 winner Girl Guide] and the whole family is going well. Gimmethegreenlight, who's looking like a good sire in South Africa, is in there.”
Mills added that the choice of mating played a leading role in Gregers' appeal.
“Written Tycoon is one of Mr Zhang's favourite stallions and the promise of a foal by him out of the mare probably forced us to break the ceiling for her.
“There's a fair chance she might go back to Written Tycoon as, being by Commands, we're a little limited in where we can go.”
Gregers, bred by Meadowvale Pastoral Co Pty out of the winning Canny Lad mare Satnav, was originally bought by Hayes for A$130,000 at the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale in 2011.
Hawthorne hits seven figures
Agent Dean Hawthorne stated he was on a mission to upgrade the broodmare band owned by Jonathan Munz's GSA Group when he signed at A$950,000 for Breccia, the dam of Group 1-winning sprinter Tivaci, on Wednesday, and he proved it once again when going all the way to A$1.6m (£922,000/€1.05m) for the proven producer Polska towards the end of Thursday's session.
Polska, a nine-year-old daughter of Encosta De Lago, has produced two runners to date and both are high-class performers – Group 2 winner Catch A Fire, sold to Stonestreet Farm for A$950,000 at this sale on Tuesday, and Group 2 VRC Sires' Produce scorer and Caulfield Guineas runner-up Seaburge.
She was offered by Widden Stud as agent, back in foal to that pair's sire Sebring.
“We've waited all day for her - we just decided we've got a really international market and you've just got to buy these good mares as they don't come along all the time,” said Hawthorne.
“She's a proven producer and Seaburge is a very good horse who looks capable of winning a Group 1 so that plays into our hands.
“And what a gorgeous mare she is, you can see why her foals can run.”
Hawthorne dug deep again on behalf of Munz when he gave A$800,000 for Zurella, a dual Group 2 winner and New Zealand Oaks runner-up by Zabeel and offered by Burke Bloodstock in foal to Vancouver.
A strong market led to big across-the-board gains in Book 1 of the National Broodmare Sale, even though this year's top price of A$1.75m was around half that paid for the A$3.4m record-breaker Listen Here at last year's renewal.
Turnover for the 711 lots sold (at a clearance rate of 83 per cent) over the three days of selling totted up to A$105,530,000 - up 41 per cent year-on-year.
The average came in at A$148,425, an increase of 11 per cent, and the median stood at A$80,000, up seven per cent.
“It's a really spectacular result for all the participants, there was a lot of international competition on horses and obviously the domestic market was strong on the back of a huge series of yearling sales throughout the year,” said Magic Millions managing director Vin Cox.