The corner with Garry Chittick

And so it ends. Yes, the major yearling sales are over for yet another year. What a finale at the Inglis Australian Easter Sale, with million-dollar horses a dime a dozen, vendors with reserves unheard of, it is indeed exhilarating. On analysis, there is no doubt it is the sales company you want to own. I have said many times the beauty of our product is the horses generally reflect the money supply washing around the economy. With COVID focussing our mind on domestic activities and with increasing stakes levels, it was a recipe for the success the sale has been.

Ironically, the swing to colonial bred stallions has led to a fighting frenzy over colts perceived as future sire prospects. This in turn is reflected in a tight number of judges who purchase in an ever-increasing circle from each other. Who is the major beneficiary? The sales company. There is, as always, more champions purchased than raced. A very successful stud owner said to me many years ago that it’s better to pay the fine, that is, try to purchase off the track.

Between Australia and New Zealand, there are roughly 8000 colts born a year. At the end of the season, if there are half a dozen who have the credentials coupled with the desired race results who meet the criteria to go to stud, that would be all. They won’t all come from one sale, they may not have been offered, so good luck to all who are having a go. Our industry is based on dreams.

What a pity the east coast of Australia is having to cope with an amazing amount of rain. We all look forward to the Championships. The tracks have been heavy but their heavy is nothing like ours, so the racing is still of Championship quality with perhaps a different spread of winners, still good horses. You never find an easy race over the month of April. 

Our NZ result in the iconic Doncaster was a remarkable trifecta. No sire prospects among the three, with the dearest at $160k and the winner changed hands a couple of times with a top price of $22k before being snapped up after trial success. The Golden Slipper was dominated by the filly Fireburn, by Rebel Dane who has attracted less than twenty mares in his last seasons at stud. She franked that form in the AJC Sires’ Produce – two Group 1 races no longer available to enhance a colt’s reputation.

There have been over 5000 yearlings catalogued for sale to date. Fortunately, the majority of our buyers aspire to win races across a broad spectrum of venues and grades; long may that continue.

Locally, I understand the turf has been turned at Ellerslie. This, and a rationalisation of assets, gives us something to look forward to. There will be a considerable time lag which is unfortunate, as basically apart from minor tweaking and further cost increases, the last decade has been a non-event. Bruce Sharrock is now in the hot seat. I look forward to him living up to his reputation. His Board is invisible, maybe the way it should be, but never the way it was.


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