11/28/2005 1:00AM

Tattersalls opens strongly

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Following a foal auction that produced a sale-record gross, England's Tattersalls sale company launched its December mare auction Monday with early gains.

The opening-day topper was Ruby Rocket, who brought approximately $617,610, or 340,000 guineas in the local currency. BBA (Ireland) purchased the filly from Summerdown Stables. Ruby Rocket is a 4-year-old filly by Indian Rocket who has earned almost $100,000, won a pair of stakes, and been placed in Group 3 company twice. She is out of the placed Fairy King mare Geht Schnell.

Monday's opener featured more horses than last year and was sharply up in both gross and average. The session sold 223 horses for about $20,985,661, almost doubling last year's gross, and the average of approximately $94,106 was up 35 percent.

The December mare auction comes on the heels of the Tattersalls' December foal auction. That four-day sale set a sale record for gross with 809 foals sold for 23,295,600 guineas, or about $42,316,457. The number sold was up substantially from last year, when 690 foals were hammered down to new owners. The average and median, about $52,307 and $32,697, respectively, were also up from last year's figures.