01/06/2010 1:00AM

Australian sale opener sluggish


A full brother to Group 1 winner Headway topped a muted opening session Wednesday at the season's first major yearling auction, Australia's Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling sale in Queensland.

The Charge Forward-Chatelaine colt offered by Turangga Farm brought a bid of about $460,000, from trainer Peter Moody. Moody also trains Headway, winner of the Group 1 Ascot Vale Stakes and two other Australian stakes last year. Headway is the first foal out of Chatelaine, a Flying Spur mare who was multiple group placed.

The Charge Forward yearling colt's price - $500,000 Australian - was well below the top price seen at last season's opening day. That session included three yearlings that brought bids of $1 million Australian or more, including the eventual sale-topper, an Encosta de Lago colt that went to trainer Gai Waterhouse for $2 million Australian.

Overall, Wednesday's session sold 132 yearlings, up from 84 last year, but gross receipts fell 17 percent to about $15,229,680. The average price also dropped 16 percent, to approximately $115,356, and the median was about $92,000.

The buy-back rate was 27 percent, a figure Magic Millions managing director David Chester said was hoping would improve as the auction's four-day select portion continued.

Moody said shares in the session-topping colt would be shared out among a number of his clients.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley Stable paid about $432,400 for the session's most expensive filly and second-highest-priced yearling, a Redoute's Choice daughter of Group 1 winner Covertly. Arrowfield Stud consigned the filly.