Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony paid tribute to the level of international participation that underpinned trade at this week’s Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale as the five-day auction came to a close on Friday in Newmarket.

Ten horses realised 300,000gns or more to race on in Australia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the US. They were led by the 575,000gns sale-topper Balance Play, who was one of three high-profile purchases made by the powerful training partnership of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott alongside McKeever Bloodstock. 

Wathnan Racing also made their presence felt through Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock, notably by paying 500,000gns for six-time winner Dark Trooper.

Blandford Bloodstock ended the sale as leading buyer with 13 bought for a total of 1,770,000gns while a large draft from The Castlebridge Consignment turned over 3,849,000gns for 145 sold.

However, despite the 12 per cent increase in catalogue size, which prompted an expansion of the sale to five days and an eight per cent rise in the number of horses sold, trade failed to keep pace with last year in keeping with various other sales held this season. 

Of the 1,258 horses offered, 1,089 sold for a total of 33,705,774gns, down seven per cent from 2022. The average fell by 14 per cent to 30,951gns while the median dropped by six per cent to 15,000gns.

“Sale turnover second only to last year’s wide margin record is a very solid performance from the 2023 renewal of the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale,” said Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony. “As ever this unique fixture, the largest and most popular of its type in the world, has attracted an extraordinarily diverse collection of buyers from all corners of the world and this has been reflected in figures which yet again demonstrate the enduring appeal of British and Irish horses in training as well as quality stock from France and Germany.

“Similar to so many Tattersalls sales, the Autumn Horses in Training Sale has made relentless progress in the past decade. Only ten years ago the sale recorded turnover a little over 20 million guineas, an average price of 23,000gns and eight lots selling for 200,000gns or more. This year’s sale has achieved turnover of almost 34 million guineas, an average price well over 30,000gns and 28 lots have sold for 200,000gns or more, which is only one fewer than at last year’s record breaking sale.”

He added: “The sustained and widespread demand from throughout the Gulf region has yet again played an enormous part in the success of the sale as racing in that part of the world continues to grow and flourish, but equally significant has been the impact of a particularly strong contingent of Australian buyers whose presence has been felt in all sectors of the market, but most notably at the very top. Ten of the top 20 highest-priced horses sold this week and nearly 50 horses in total are heading down to Australia which is a tribute to the top level success of recent graduates of the sale like Just Fine and Zaaki. Similarly success driven, although largely at a different level of the market has been the notable contribution from the numerous European buyers in particular Spanish and Italian buyers who have been busy from start to finish and have also accounted for more than 80 horses between them this week. We work hard alongside our extensive network of overseas representatives to promote this and every other Tattersalls sale and it is rewarding to see this reflected in the unrivalled overseas participation which is the hallmark of the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale.

“Alongside international buyers from more than 30 different countries, the domestic British and Irish influence has also been felt in all sectors of the market this week with Flat and National Hunt buyers all making a significant contribution and we look forward to seeing equally diverse international and domestic demand at the forthcoming Tattersalls December Foals and Mares Sale which annually provides a showcase for the very best European bloodstock.”

Recent Lingfield winner Veiled Illusion topped a quiet final day of trading on Friday when sold for 55,000gns out of James Tate’s yard. The progressive two-year-old came into the sale in good form, having run third under a penalty in a 7f novice at Lingfield Park only the day before the sale, and went on to sell to Nawaf Abdullah Al-Saif with an eye on a future campaign in Saudi Arabia.

“He’s in good form,” said Al-Saif. “We’ll get him over to Saudi Arabia straight away. It’s getting colder here now, and there’s little racing to come on the turf, so there’s little point in leaving him here. Besides, he will like the sunshine in Saudi Arabia!

“We’ll give him some time, probably a couple of weeks, and then get him back into training. He’s a fast horse. We have the dirt and grass surfaces in Saudi Arabia and a lot of races over six to seven furlongs, so there are a lot of options for him.”

The Alice Haynes-trained Fine Interview, a promising second at Yarmouth on his sole outing to date, was expected to take high order yesterday afternoon but failed to sell in the ring for 130,000gns.

Balance Play: high-class handicapper topped the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale. Photo – Tattersalls