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The $340,000 colt by Fusaichi Pegasus at Lot 52 provided an early highlight to an otherwise mixed day's trade on Day 1 of New Zealand Bloodstock's 2010 Ready to Run Sale of 2YOs today at Karaka.
The striking grey colt from the stakeswinning Danehill mare Skates fetched $340,000 to the bid of Hong Kong buyer Magus Equine on behalf of trainer Me Tsui. Offered by Lyndhurst Farm, the half-brother to Group 1 winning Juste Momente (Giant's Causeway) is the second highest price ever seen at the Ready to Run Sale.
Magus Equine principal Willie Leung has arrived in New Zealand with a group of five trainers from Hong Kong, including Me Tsui who will train the colt for his client Mr P Lau.
A regular buyer at the Karaka Ready to Run Sale, Willie thought the colt was a sale standout.
"He is a big, strong horse, a lovely mover with a good pedigree and was my top pick of the Sale. He's a precocious type so we'll be looking to take him up to Hong Kong straight away and target the griffin races in May and June."
"On average the quality this year is pretty good with the bigger catalogue offering more choice than usual. The sale is stronger than I expected but with the exchange rate it is still good value compared to Europe and Australia which is why we're buying more here."
With 250 horses catalogued for sale on Day 1 of the two-day Sale, 125 were sold for an aggregate of $6,593,000. This represents a current average of $52,744 and a median of $32,000. The clearance rate is currently 56%.
With 18 horses already sold for six-figure sums there's clear strength to the top of the market, but the middle and lower end of the market are facing a bigger challenge.
"We have a much bigger catalogue this year, 200 horses more than last year, and while that's offered buyers a broader selection we knew it was going to make it very difficult to sustain last year's figures," commented NZB Co-Managing Director Petrea Vela.
"But even given that, today's clearance rate is disappointing and reflects a patchy middle to lower market. The international buying bench has been as robust as ever but the domestic market is very quiet which is of concern. New Zealand buyers spent more than $3 million at the one-day sale last year and it's barely a fraction of that today ($1.2m). Hopefully we can see some improvement on that tomorrow."
A broad international buying bench has seen buyers from Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, Malaysia and Korea all represented on the buyers' sheet on the first day.
Heading the list is Magus Equine with three other purchases made during the day including $220,000 paid for the Darci Brahma colt from Group 3 winning Pins mare Rosetti Bay, at Lot 20.
Making the biggest impact on the results sheet is Singapore with a total of 27 horses purchased for racing there. Amongst the most prominent Singapore buyers are Laurie Laxon, Michael Freedman, Dr KC Tan and Mr Soon Hock Lee.
Also active are both the Seoul Racehorse Owners Association and the Korean Racing Authority with 14 two-year-olds purchased for Korea so far.
Selling two of the top five lots Mark & Shelley Treweek's Lyndhurst Farm is on track to be the leading vendor for the fourth year in a row with five entries sold so far for an aggregate of $770,000 at an average of $128,333. Lyndhurst has another 13 young horses catalogued for sale tomorrow.
Selling continues from 10am tomorrow (17 November) at Karaka, with Lots 251 to 494.