07/08/2010 11:00PM

Tattersalls average down, but topper set record

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Tattersalls July sale of mares and horses in training ended Friday morning in Newmarket, England, with a sale-record top price and moderate declines in average and median.

The auction format changed this year when Tattersalls added a third session, and that gave a lift to the gross. That figure rose 5 percent to about $9,251,393 as the number of horses sold climbed to 475. Last year, 438 sold. Average and median price both dipped, by 3 and 8 percent, respectively. In U.S. currency, the average was $19,477 and median was $9,513. The figures include private sales struck on the auction grounds.

Buy-backs were 25 percent, up from 15 percent last year.

Business as Usual set a sale record of 460,000 guineas (about $729,330) when selling Thursday to a Hong Kong-based owner represented by the Kern/Lillingston agency. The price easily broke the 2001 sale record of 380,000 guineas, or about $602,490 at the current exchange rate.

International buyers, including those from Hong Kong, Qatar, and the United States, shored up the upper market with bids and purchases above $100,000.

"An added bonus for overseas buyers is definitely the current weakness of sterling," Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony said. "At present the currency is offering almost unprecedented value for money, and this should continue to act as an incentive at the forthcoming October yearling sale."