06/01/2008 11:00PM

Sheikh buys Australian topper

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Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley operation added to its long list of sale-topping buys Monday in Australia with the sale-record purchase of broodmare prospect Divine Madonna.

Darley paid $2,565,000, for the four-time Australian Group 1 winner at the Magic Millions national broodmare sale on Australia's Gold Coast.

Agent Bill Mitchell signed the ticket on behalf of Darley Australia, which bought the 5-year-old Hurricane Sky mare from the partnership that raced her. That partnership, including the wife of her trainer, Mark Kavanagh, initially purchased Divine Madonna as a yearling for about $76,000. The filly went on to earn approximately $1.9 million on the racecourse before her sale Monday.

The first of five broodmare sessions ended Tuesday with 123 horses sold for about $11,159,887, an average price of about $90,730. The buy-back rate was 31 percent.