5 takeaways from Magic Millions 2023

The commitment and hard work of Arrowfield's Magic Millions 2023 sale crew were rewarded with total sales of $15.6 million including the $1.1 million Snitzel-Super Cash colt. (PHOTO: Arrowfield Stud)

1. Similar results, different market
The overall Magic Millions 2023 Book 1 results were remarkably similar to last year’s figures: 787 vs 785 horses sold for the same total amount ($229 million), achieving the same average price ($292,000).

Arrowfield matched this trend with $15.6 million total sales for the farm, breeding partners & clients, but registered a higher average ($318,000) and median ($270,000) than 2022.

In all, Arrowfield sold 49 yearlings up to the $1.1 million paid for the Snitzel-Super Cash colt bought by Michael Hickmott & Douglas Whyte. He was one of Snitzel’s three $1 million+ lots, headed by Newgate Farm’s $1.25 million filly out of My Conquestadory .

Despite the consistent statistics, the market was a little different this year: boosted towards the top end as buyers concentrated their spend on quality (a record 20 $1 million+ lots) and softer in the middle, resulting in a lower, though still excellent clearance rate (89.7% vs 93.6% in 2022) and median price ($210,000 vs $230,000 in 2022).

Given current geopolitical and economic trends, it’s not surprising that the enthusiasm of major players for the rewards of Australian racing is now being balanced by the caution of mid-range owners, trainers & syndicators. 

2. Thumbs-up for Castelvecchio
In a large and competitive group of first-crop sires, dual Group 1 winner Castelvecchio returned excellent results for his supporters, averaging $196,000 (6.5 x his 2020 fee) for 12 yearlings.

Sydney Group 1 trainer Gary Portelli paid his top price of $360,000 for Arrowfield’s colt out of Statuette; other purchasers included Gai Waterhouse, Adrian Bott & Kestrel Thoroughbreds, John Thompson, Francis & Christine Cook, Anthony Cummings, Lindsay Park Racing & Castelvecchio’s racing owners Ottavio & Wendy Galletta.  

Ottavio & Wendy Galletta with their Castelvecchio colt, Lot 640.

Chef Ben, Tatiana & Daniela kept everyone well-fed & coffee-ed.

Barn T is re-named for our latest Group 1 graduate.

Ray Montague's generous gift of fruit is always welcome.

Former Arrowfielder Damien Fitton signed for Lot 238.

Bathroom flowers really do make a difference!

Arrowfielder Anna Connors & John Messara Jnr.

Hitotsu's owner Kevin Payne celebrates with Paul Messara.

Wally the Water Dragon was a daily guest.

Bid-spotter Ed Corstens knew where the ice-creams were!

Arrowfield's sale crew - all smiles after a very successful week.

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3. Big tick for the Written Tycoon project
“Resounding success” is the early verdict on Arrowfield’s decision to stand Written Tycoon in 2020 after the Champion Sire posted his best-ever Magic Millions aggregate ($15.7 million) and average ($371,000) for a stellar cohort of 43 yearlings. 

Arrowfield backed its own judgment and sold 11 Written Tycoon yearlings for an average of $400,000, including his top-priced lot, the half-brother to Champion 3YO Filly Shoals, knocked down to Yulong, Anthony Freedman, Julian Blaxland & ARJB Racing for $950,000.

4. Buyers return for Dundeel’s yearlings
Nine of the 13 Dundeel yearlings sold from Book 1 went to returning purchasers including his top-priced lot, the $600,000 colt out of Group winner Rimraam. Offered by Longwood Thoroughbred Farm, he was secured by Suman Hedge (who bought Dundeel stars Victoria Quay & Elliptical), David Redvers & John O’Shea.

Trainers Bjorn Baker, Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, Danny O’Brien, Matthew Dunn, Matt Cumani and Mick Price & Michael Kent Jr will also welcome new talent by Dundeel. 

Japan’s Northern Farm is a significant new buyer on Dundeel’s record after joining agent Satomi Oka to pay $500,000 for Tyreel Stud’s handsome colt out the stakes-placed All American mare Tender.

5. Enthusiasm for Shalaa & The Autumn Sun
A strong group of buyers prepared to pay more than 4 times service fee generated excellent results for yearlings from The Autumn Sun’s second crop and Shalaa’s fourth (and so far largest) crop.

The Autumn Sun’s 14 Book 1 lots sold up to the $600,000 paid by Ciaron Maher & Mystery Downs for Arrowfield’s Time Check filly. Chris Waller, who trained the 5-time Group 1 winner, bought two fillies and a colt by him with Guy Mulcaster & Damien Fitton, while other lots went to the stables of Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou, Richard & Will Freedman, Gary Portelli, Phillip Stokes, Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young, Chris Anderson and Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott. 

A top price of $220,000 was paid for two Shalaa colts, out of Dual Star (from Arrowfield) and Murtle Turtle (from Emirates Park), and both were bought by previous Shalaa buyers, John O’Shea & Bjorn Baker. 

Other repeat purchasers of Shalaa’s yearlings were Snowden Racing (trainers of the promising Godzilla), Annabel Neasham, Boomer Bloodstock, Busuttin Racing, Griffiths de Kock Racing and Prime Thoroughbreds’ Joe O’Neill who also syndicated Shalaa’s 2YO stakes-winning daughter Quang Tri.

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