With no fewer than 18 yearlings reaching the $1 million mark or higher, the first four days of trade which comprised Book 1 of the Keeneland September Sale returned a robust set of figures which bodes well for forthcoming sales in Britain and Ireland.

Through the first four sessions, a total of 546 yearlings from 748 offered were sold for $153,385,000, for an average of $280,925 (+38.5%) and a median of $207,500 (+38.3%). The number of seven-figure lots sold equalled the tally for the 2008 sale. Last year’s Book 1 was held over just two days, whereas this time around, Book 2 will be two sessions, on Saturday and Sunday.

“The format change has been well received by consignors and buyers alike,” said Vice President of Sales Walt Robertson. “The barn area has never been busier, and the tremendous activity at the barns is carrying over to the horses in Book 2. Consignors tell us they have been overwhelmed with buyer interest today. We see this excitement continuing throughout the remainder of the sale.”

MV Magnier, signing on behalf of Coolmore, was the successful bidder for the top lot of Book 1 – a $2.5 million son of War Front. The colt is the first foal of the During mare Blading Gold Ring and was consigned by Peter O’Callaghan’s Woods Edge Farm. The same buyer and vendor were engaged in the most expensive yearling by Galileo in the sale, a half-brother to Classic winner and leading young sire Mastercraftsman, which sold for $1.4 million.

The team from Shadwell headed the buyers’ list, accounting for 25 yearlings to the tune of $11,300,000, including a Tapit filly for $1 million. Taylor Made Sales Agency (as agent) was the leading vendor, selling 68 yearlings for $18,390,000.

“Mission accomplished,” said Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell. “Our goal with the format change was to get as many high-quality yearlings and as many buyers on the grounds as possible. It worked; week 1 was a great success. Our consignors did an extraordinary job. They brought us the cream of the North American foal crop.”