12/01/2012 3:48PM

Tattersalls: Gross up, average and median down as four-day sale concludes

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Tattersalls concluded its four-day sale of foals on Saturday with steady economic indicators and increased activity at all market levels, as the sale posted the best clearance rate in this century and surpassed the 24 million guineas mark for only the third time in history.

Overall, Tattersalls reported 708 foals sold for a total of $40,584,000. Measured in the local auction currency, guineas, that figure was up 1.1 percent compared with last year’s sale when 665 horses sold. Average and median prices both declined 5 percent this year, to $57,322 and $33,634, respectively, but the buy-back rate dropped significantly, from 24.3 percent to 17.1 percent. 

“The real focus of the sale has been the sustained demand at all levels of the market,” said Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony. “Competition in every price range has been fierce with pinhookers from Britain, Ireland, and further afield competing with many of the world’s leading owners. . . . The resilience of the industry continues to amaze, and tribute must again be paid to the professionalism of the consignors and purchasers alike.”

The highest price for a foal this year came during Friday’s session when Sheikh Fahad al-Thani’s Pearl Bloodstock went to $840,000 for a Galileo colt out of the stakes-placed Bering mare Healing Music. The foal is a half-brother to 2010 Epsom Derby runner-up At First Sight.

“He is a lovely looking colt,” Sheikh Fahad said. “He is real quality. He really caught my eye. I went to see him a few times and I liked him more every time I saw him.”

Sheikh Fahad, a member of Qatar’s royal family, did his own bidding on Friday rather than through his usual representative, David Redvers, and outlasted agent David Ryan of Aran Bloodstock. It is the second high-profile son of Galileo he has purchased this fall at Tattersalls. He paid about $4 million for Hydrogen, a three-quarters-brother to 2007 Epsom Derby winner Authorized, at the October yearling sale.

"[The Galileo weanling] has [cost] half a million [guineas], but if he were to have come here as yearling, he could have cost a million, so it makes sense,” Sheikh Fahad said. “This horse has been bought to race."

David Ingordo, buying for Australian operation Waratah Thoroughbreds, went to $756,000 for the sale’s highest-priced filly, also sold on Friday. The daughter of Oasis Dream is out of the multiple Group 1-winning Alzao mare Albanova and was consigned by St. Simon Stud.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s representative, John Ferguson, led all buyers over the four foal sessions with 18 purchased for about $2.9 million, topped by a Dubawi colt out of Group 2 winner Please Sing bought on Friday for $336,300. The Castlebridge consignment, which sold Friday’s sale-topping Galileo colt, led all consignors with 32 sold for nearly $3.3 million.

Saturday’s session was led by a Dutch Art colt out of the Paris House mare Arculinge, who was purchased for $176,580 by Paddy Twomey from the consignment of Throckmorton Court Stud, agent, for Sheila Oaks.

Tattersalls reported 150 foals sold for about $6.2 million on Saturday, a 26 percent decline compared with the fourth session in 2011, and the session average was off 28 percent compared with 2011.

Tattersalls will offer breeding stock beginning Monday and running through Thursday, with sessions beginning daily at 9:30 a.m.