Magic Millions resilient amid catastrophe

Magic Millions resilient amid catastrophe

Magic Millions resilient amid catastrophe

The 2011 Magic Millions Sale will be remembered for the devastating Queensland floods before, during and after the sale. As Tara Madgwick noted on Breednet, it seemed bizarre to be following a horse sale amid such catastrophe, but the economic activity generated by the Magic Millions Sale and raceday will make a contribution to the state’s recovery.

Not surprisingly, it was difficult for Queenslanders to participate in the sale and for the rest of us to concentrate on business. Nevertheless, the sale proved, in my opinion, that the horse economy is still alive and well.

Our own experience at Arrowfield was that we met our budget but without much overage; so no shocks to the system there!

Today’s buying benches are highly professional and selective, and the spontaneous activity which characterised the early years of the Magic Millions is a thing of the past. However, there was good money for a well made colt or filly with clean x-rays, even without a top-class pedigree.

Despite the strength of the Australian dollar, South African and Hong Kong buyers were on the ground and Aushorse’s domestic marketing push certainly paid off.

The expectation for months before the sale was for an average about equivalent to the 2010 figure and that is pretty well what we got. The average was down 3.9 per cent, while the median was down 5.3 per cent on the previous year – close enough.

Arrowfield’s two young guns Not A Single Doubt and Snitzel defied that trend, achieving Session 1-4 averages of $82,083 and $177,000 – well above their 2010 figures. They could hardly have had a better week in the ring, or on the track. Karuta Queen’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic win took Not A Single Doubt to the head of the Australian 2YO Sires’ table, while Snitzel supplied two Magic Millions placegetters, 2YO Schiffer and 3YO Top Drop, and claimed the lead on the 2nd Season Sires’ list.

This duo’s sire, Redoute’s Choice , provided the top four prices of the sale and his 13 yearlings averaged $385,000, lower than one would have hoped against a 2008 service fee of $300,000. Don’t forget though, that this fee was set against enormous demand for nominations to Redoute’s Choice – a demand which far outweighed possible supply.

In 2008, no fewer than 19 of his yearlings across Australia and New Zealand made $1 million or more, with a top price of $2.7 million, and an extraordinary average of $736,000 – they were heady times!

Buyers did not care then about the nomination fees paid two years earlier to produce the yearlings they purchased, just as they do not care now that Not A Single Doubt stood his first six seasons at $12,500.

Still, I’m pleased to note that this year’s Magic Millions average for our Champion Sire was ahead of his equivalent 2010 figure of $343,000.

That augurs well for the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, where Redoute’s Choice last year averaged $480,645 – 40% better than his 2010 Magic Millions figure. I understand he has some great types and pedigrees at the 2011 Easter Sale, not least among them Arrowfield’s full sister to Beneteau.

I sense that 2011 is going to be another good racing year for Redoute’s Choice’s progeny both here and overseas. This, and the fact his sons are highly sought after as stallions, underpins his value as a sire. With a breed shaper such as Redoute’s Choice, residual breeding value is as much a factor in determining the price of his yearlings as their earning capacity on the track.

So, while the Magic Millions of 2011 was not a boomer, things could have been much worse given the prevailing scenario of the Aussie dollar, the sluggish economy and the terrible Queensland floods. We can now look forward to the remainder of the 2011 yearling sales series with some confidence.