ThoroughBred Racing

Emotions aplenty as Classic starts on a high

Emotions aplenty as Classic starts on a high

Never before has the Classic Yearling Sale seen a day like today.

A record individual days gross, a record individual price and a record sale average has seen the first of Inglis’ select yearling sales for the 2022 season start on a high as vendors enjoyed the bloodstock boom and buyers reaped the rewards of some outstanding stock.



The standout among many Day 1 highlights was Bell River Thoroughbreds setting an individual price record for the Classic Sale when their Extreme Choice x Murtle Turtle colt realised $775,000 to James Harron Bloodstock’s Colts Partnership.

It surpassed the previous record set 12 months ago of $625,000.

For an emotional James Ferguson of Bell River, the result was reward for months of hard work preparing the colt for Classic and when the hammer came down, the tears started to flow.

“When the bidding got to the $600,000, $700,000, $750,000, that’s when it all started to get emotional and once it was sold I had to duck off to a quiet spot and just have a minute to myself, I don’t like to cry in front of people really,’’ Ferguson said.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s emotional, I tried to stop the tears but I failed on that account.

“You know, it’s more rewarding than anything. You spend years learning the game…you prepare for these moments to nail them on the head and I think we can say we did that this time around.

“I was always thinking he could get above $500,000, just the way the stallion is going and he’s a limited commodity but I tried my best not to get caught up in the hype and to just enjoy it.

“A lot of hard work goes into a result like this, it’s not just a matter of turning up to a sale and presenting a horse like this. You couldn’t do this without the family and our supporters and most importantly the people we’ve got back at the farm that aren’t here today, they’re the backbone of what we do.’’

The colt (pictured) was offered by Bell River in partnership with Bevan Smith and Ben Kwok, who teamed up to buy him as a weanling last year.

For Harron – who ended the day as second-top overall Day 1 buyer behind Mark Kavanagh – the fact a colt of his quality was even offered at a Classic Sale was testament to how vital the auction has developed into.

When asked did he ever think he would have to pay $775,000 for a horse at Classic, Harron replied: “I think the question should be ‘would you ever have imagined seeing an Extreme Choice – that’s probably one of the most extraordinary stallions we’ve seen for a very long time – having one of his nicest colts I’ve ever seen at the Classic Sale.

“This horse could have been sold at any of the major sales this year so the fact he’s at Classic, if anything, is probably a testament to this sale and where it’s elevated itself to. We judge the horse on their merits and can compare to what we’ve seen throughout the year and he stacked up extremely well.

“Classic is a very important sale, there’s a lot of good horses coming from it and a lot of good stallions have come from it and we’re in that business of trying to create stallions so we’ve got to be hunting and working hard at Classic, which we’ve done, and so far we’re very happy with what we’ve got.’’

The top lot was part of a record days gross for Classic, with Day 1 turnover sitting at $26,345,000, up from last year’s Day 1 record of $21,418,000.

The average of $127,271 is up 20% from this time last year, while the median ($110,000) and clearance rate (85%) were both extremely buoyant.

In a further sign of the strength of the yearling market at present, 115 horses sold for $100,000 or more today – up from 95 on Day 1 last year – while 35 sold for $200,000 or more compared to 17 in 2021.

The day’s second-top lot came late in the day when Hong Kong buyer Bon Ho of Legend Racing – who bought The Everest conqueror Classique Legend at this same auction in 2017 – went to $550,000 to secure lot 263, a Deep Field x Spellbinder colt from Newgate.

“The market is very hot, the good-looking horses fetch a very good price,’’ Mr Ho said.

“It’s very good for the vendors but for the buyers like myself, we have to pay more than our budget for the better ones.

“This colt was the best-looking horse at the sale for me and there were some very good trainers as under bidders so I’m very pleased to get him. He was recommended to me by William Freedman, so he will be trained by William.’’

Newgate’s Jim Carey added: “He grew up on the farm and hopefully he can be as good as some of our previous Classic sale graduates in Shadow Hero and Profiteer who came from our drafts in the past couple of years. If he’s as half as good as them, we’ll be happy.

“It’s unbelievable, really. The Inglis guys have done a fantastic job to get clients here and we purposely brought some really nice horses to this sale.

“We’re not finished yet, we have some really nice horses over the next couple of days and it is a great effort by everyone at the farms and at Inglis to ensure that it’s a successful sale.’’

The third-top lot – an I Am Invincible x Pierro Moss colt of Yarraman Park – sold to Baystone Farm for $480,000.

He will be trained by Troy Corstens in Melbourne.

“We’re delighted, thrilled. He was a nicely balanced horse and we’re very happy with the price, like very happy. It’s a very strong sale and he’s an outstanding colt, I Am Invincible is having a great season again so we’re delighted,’’ Yarraman’s Harry Mitchell said.

“The market is very strong, there’s horses here for all people and budgets, there’s a lot of people here from every different level which is a credit to Inglis, they’ve got the people here and the sale is very successful as a result.

“The foot traffic today and all week is as busy as I can ever remember, I haven’t been to many busier sales in my lifetime. We’ve been here for the five days now and we’ve been flat out every day. The people are here, the clearance rate is outstanding, it’s what we vendors like to see.’’

For Baystone’s Dean Harvey, the plan now is for the colt to return and win next year’s $2m Inglis Millennium.

“He is a typical I Am Invincible. He’s a nice horse, he looks early, he paraded well all week, he’s got a great temperament, so he’ll be given every chance,’’ Harvey said.

“He’s by the premier stallion in the country and he’s got a good family underneath him.’’

Inglis Bloodstock chief executive Sebastian Hutch described Day 1 of Classic as “rewarding for so many people’’.

“Riverside has been buzzing all week and that enthusiasm translated to the market today,’’ Hutch said.

“We are extremely lucky in this country to be in a golden era of our sport with fantastic prizemoney and a racing product which is a tremendous spectacle right throughout the year, which in turn generates tremendous confidence in people looking to get involved.

“We were expecting it to be a strong sale as we have been supported by many of Australasia’s best breeders with plenty of fantastic horses, but, as strong as it was, there are any number of buyers going home with smiles on their faces having found nice horses for value.

“There are lots of good yearlings still there to be bought and any number of opportunities for those who have been disappointed today to buy nice horses tomorrow and on Tuesday.”

To make an offer on a passed in lot from today or at any stage throughout the sale, contact Harry Bailey on 0420 997 417.

The remaining two days of the 2022 Classic Yearling Sale will begin at 10am and will again be broadcast live on the Inglis website and Facebook page via our Sale Day Live coverage.

Coverage begins daily at 9.30am with the Preview Show.

The Highway Session (Book 2) is on Tuesday following the completion of the main book.

To view the catalogue, CLICK HERE.


(Last year in brackets)

Lots sold: 207 (202)

Clearance rate: 85% (86%)

Average Price: $127,271 ($106,030)

Median Price: $110,000 ($90,000)

Top Price: $775,000 ($600,000)

Gross: $26,345,000 ($21,418,000)