04/20/2008 11:00PM

Australia sale starts strong

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Australia's select yearling auction season, which got under way last month with a record-producing run at Magic Millions, continued in a similarly strong fashion at William Inglis & Son's Easter yearling sale Sunday and Monday.

The Easter yearling sale, held this year in a two-part format and on later dates than in previous years, will hold select sessions through Thursday in Sydney.

The auction opened Sunday with a Redoute's Choice-Coliape filly bringing the top price of about $1,692,000 on a final bid from Ron Croghan. Prices climbed even higher Monday, with a top bid of $2,068,000 ($2.2 million Australian). That was what trainer Anthony Cummings paid for an Encosta de Lago colt who is a full brother to two-time Australian champion (and U.S. Grade 3 winner) Alinghi.

The son of Oceanfast was one of eight yearlings to bring seven figures Monday and was consigned by Yarraman Park Stud. Cummings said he purchased the session-topper for a syndicate.

Monday's selling brought the auction gross to about $77,676,900 for 240 yearlings, making the average price about $323,653. The median was about $216,200. Those figures were up sharply from last year's sale at the same point. The gross was up 10 percent from last year, when 244 horses sold in the first two days. Average was up 11 percent, and median also was running ahead by 10 percent.

Coolmore Stud leads all sellers so far, with 24 horses sold for approximately $7,938,300, for an average price of about $330,762. But that didn't stop Coolmore from buying a high-priced horse, too. Coolmore agent Demi O'Byrne signed for a Encosta de Lago colt out of the Canny Lad mare My Juliet that cost about $1,786,000. The colt is a half-brother to Australian classic-winning filly Mnemosyne.

$250K colt early OBS topper

The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's spring 2-year-old sale opened Monday in Ocala, Fla., with only a handful of horses cracking six figures in the early going. With the auction still on at 6 p.m., the session's highest-priced horse was a $250,000 Macho Uno colt purchased by Klaravich Stable. Agent Terri Pompay signed the ticket. The Woodside Ranch agency sold the colt, a gray or roan son of the Storm Cat mare Enterprizing Cat.

Sold as Hip No. 273, the Macho Uno colt is a half-brother to the winning filly Unknown Variable.

Hip No. 88, a $140,000 colt by Concorde's Tune out of Call Me Dancer, was the second highest-priced horse at that point. Consigned by Ocala Stud, the colt went to Frank Fletcher Racing. Named Dance Caller, the bay colt is a half-brother to three winners, one of them the Puerto Rican stakes-placed gelding Gin's Dancer.

Other six-figure lots at that hour included Hip No. 27, a $110,000 daughter of Mr. Greeley and Behaving that TG Race/Sales purchased from Becky Boyd's Peacock Ridge agency.

The four-day OBS spring 2-year-old auction was to run through April 24, with sessions beginning daily at 10:30 a.m. at the OBS facility in Ocala.

Kentucky barn fire kills 11 horses

A barn fire Saturday morning at Fabien Ouaki's Fab Oak Farm in Woodford County, Ky., killed 11 horses, according to county fire chief Bennie Green.

The fire is under routine investigation, Green said, with insurance firms and the Kentucky State Police arson squad taking part. Green said that as of Monday authorities did not suspect foul play and the involvement of the arson squad was routine.

The barn was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived, and witnesses told local news outlets that there had been no chance to save the horses by the time the fire was spotted.

Details about the horses haven't been released, and Green said it would probably take several days before authorities could determine what caused the blaze.

"Some of that hay under the metal is still smoldering," Green said. "There's not a lot of fire now, just a lot of smoke."

Ouaki, a close friend and associate of trainer Patrick Biancone, has campaigned such stakes winners as Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Nownownow, his sire, Whywhywhy, and Grade 2 winner Bonapartiste.

* Two-time champion Silverbulletday produced her sixth foal, a bay colt by Bernardini, on April 19. Mike Pegram boards Silverbulletday at Hill 'n' Dale Farms near Lexington. The 12-year-old Silver Deputy mare will be bred back to Elusive Quality this year. She was North America's champion juvenile filly in 1998 and champion 3-year-old filly in 1999.

* The Irish-based auction house Goffs has announced it will host a new autumn yearling sale in conjunction with a horses in training auction in October at its County Kildare headquarters. The auction will take place Oct. 23-24. The Sportsman's yearling sale will revert to a one-day auction on Oct. 2.