01/07/2010 1:00AM

Numbers mixed at Australian sale


Thursday's second session of the Australian Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling sale boosted the auction's gross, but the average price is still tracking behind last year's.

The Thursday session produced a new sale-leader when trainer Gai Waterhouse went to about $644,000, to buy an Encosta de Lago filly out of former Australian champion Ha Ha.

Waterhouse was bidding on behalf of Craig Thompson's Mount Hallowell Stud, a breeder and owner in Western Australian. Waterhouse trained the filly's dam to victories in the 2001 Golden Slipper and Flight Stakes. Ha Ha also was runner-up in Australia's 1000 Guineas that year.

Thompson said Waterhouse would train the Encosta de Lago filly and told reporters, "I came here specifically to buy this filly. Just have a look at her pedigree."

After Thursday's session, the auction had sold 291 yearlings for about $35,119,160, up slightly more than 1 percent from last season's total at the same point. The average price was down 5 percent from last season's at about $120,684. The median was approximately $92,000, and buy-backs were running at 22 percent.

The auction's first section, consisting of four sessions, was to run through Jan. 9.