Coolmore threw their weight behind the second and final session of the online Inglis Easter Yearling Sale in Australia on Wednesday, with Tom Magnier accounting for three million-dollar lots headed by the sale-topping A$1.8 million son of Snitzel.

As a result, Magnier ended the sale as leading buyer with eight purchased for a total of A$6.895 million. Not only that, Coolmore were also the sale’s leading vendor as the source of 22 yearlings who sold for a total of A$7.53 million.

When all was done and dusted over two marathon sessions of online selling staged in extraordinary circumstances, a total of A$68,060,500 had been traded on 214 yearlings via the company’s online bidding platform. The figure makes for painful reading when judged against last year’s gross of A$123,375,500 as does a clearance rate of 62% (which is expected to rise in the coming days as more private sales are conducted). However, an average of A$318,040 represents a softer fall of ten per cent while the median dropped by only A$10,000 to A$250,000.

Inglis had been left with no choice but to stage their flagship yearling event as a virtual auction as the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, and Managing Director Mark Webster paid tribute to the work put in by the vendors.

“This has been the most remarkable sale on so many levels,’’ said Webster.

“Not only has it been the first premium yearling sale anywhere in the world conducted in this format, it has been done during a global health and financial crisis with restrictive movements internationally and between states in Australia, making it hard and in many cases impossible for buyers to inspect stock in the lead-up to the sale.

“But with fantastic teamwork and solidarity between our vendors and Inglis, we have been able to make this work.

“The actual logistics of bidding and following the sale worked well for us when we used them”

“We are extremely appreciative of our vendors for sticking with us and I feel confident they have been rewarded beyond their expectations in many instances and while the clearance rate does not properly reflect how the sale has run or the quality of the stock, restrictions made it very hard for some farms but they will now have the chance to sell through Easter Round 2 here at Riverside on July 5.”

Inglis officials noted that there had been almost 300,000 engagements on the company’s website from more than 100 countries. Yearlings were purchased by buyers from Britain, Ireland, Japan, Macau and Hong Kong, to complement the domestic buying bench.

“I must also mention the support of Ardex Technology,” said Webster, “who provided the software solutions for our online bidding services but who also provide for trainers and breeders and are a critical part of our industry globally.

“And finally to the general public for their phenomenal support in the lead-up and during this sale, for the huge viewership and support of our Sale Day Live coverage and of course to Caroline Searcy, an industry legend who has helped bring this sale to the world under the most trying of circumstances.’’

Agent James Harron was also positive, noting that the sale’s performance bodes well for the future.

“The online, virtual sale I feel worked well – it was obviously very different in terms of a concept, but the actual logistics of bidding and following the sale worked well for us when we used them,” he told Owner Breeder.

“A reliance on technology operating correctly across a large number of people is naturally something which will always have a certain degree of concern, and obviously there will always be room for improvement, but overall this initial edition of an online, virtual premier yearling sale I feel bodes well for the future implementation of such technology elsewhere in the world.”

He added: “I thought that the market stood up remarkably well under the circumstances. Obviously the clearance rate was much reduced from what we are used to seeing at an Australian yearling sale, which have been running in the 80% – 90% range for the past five years, but it is also worth pointing out how extraordinary the Australian market is to have maintained such clearance levels for an extended period when compared to analogous markets around the world over the same period.”

This colt by I Am Invincible was among a number of purchases by Coolmore on Wednesday – Photo: Inglis

Coolmore dominate

A bid of A$1.8 million saw Tom Magnier come away with the eventual sale-topper, an outstanding son of Arrowfield Stud’s champion sire Snitzel bred by the China Horse Club and sold through Sledmere Stud.

One of seven yearlings overall to realise a million dollars or more, the colt is the first foal out of champion sprinter First Seal, whose six wins included the 2014 Group 1 ATC Flight Stakes at Randwick. In turn, the daughter of Fastnet Rock is out of dual Group 1 winner Episode.

“We’re quite emotional here,” said Royston Murphy of Sledmere Stud. “It’s a great result, we’re delighted, absolutely delighted.

“It’s a lot of hard work by a lot of people to get to these days. It’s just a huge result, a great result for our clients China Horse Club who have been a big supporter of ours for years.

“It’s great for our staff and everybody involved.’’

Magnier revealed that the Coolmore team had visited the colt several times in the week leading into Easter.

“Sledmere really had the horse looking fantastic and everyone at Coolmore really loved the colt,’’ said Magnier.

“To be fair to Inglis, they made the week possible so that all the top buyers could access the sale, and they did. When you got to a horse like this, you knew all the top buyers were on him because Inglis had created the platform to allow that to be possible so we knew he wasn’t going to go cheap.’’

Magnier also landed the winning bid on the second dearest colt of the sale, going to A$1.4 million for a son of I Am Invincible. Sold by breeder Kia Ora Stud, the colt is out of Group 2-winning two-year-old Twilight Royale, a daughter of Testa Rossa from the family of Irish Derby winner Grey Swallow.

In a show of appreciation for I Am Invincible, who has risen from humble beginnings at Yarraman Park Stud to become one of Australia’s top stallions, Magnier also went to A$1.1 million for his sister to last season’s fast Group 3-winning juvenile Catch Me from breeder Segenhoe Stud. The pair are out of Captivating Claire, an unraced O’Reilly granddaughter of Group 1 winner Marquise.

“We’re extremely passionate, our family is passionate about Australian racing and we’ve got some wonderful people who invest with us working with the yearlings and the stallions,’’ said Magnier.

“The economy is obviously going through a tough time at the moment but if there’s a place that we believe in, it’s Australia. We think the future is in Australia and we’re delighted to be a part of it.

“There have been some wonderful horses put through the sale this week.

“It’s a credit to all the farms, not just ours, that everyone stuck together. Everyone did a great job getting their horses right, everyone got behind Inglis, everyone believed in it and made it work and when you put those formulas together, you get success.

“To our staff at Coolmore, they’ve worked harder than ever, weekends, hours they’ve never worked before to help us sell these horses and we owe them an enormous amount of credit.

“Normally they get to go to the sales and lead the horses around the ring but this time they didn’t but we’re very proud of them, as all the farms would be of their staff.’’

Frankel leads the way

I Am Invincible accounted for three million-dollar yearlings, which in turn contributed to an aggregate of A$14.215 million for 27 sold at an average of A$526,481.

In terms of average, however, it was Banstead Manor Stud’s Frankel who led the way on a figure of A$585,000 for two sold during the first session; a filly out of New Zealand champion Princess Coup sold for A$670,000 to James Harron while a colt out of the Dansili mare Thai Noon made A$500,000 to Michelle Payne Racing and Sardar Azmoun.

“The Frankel filly out of Princess Coup who we purchased was quite simply a must-have filly as an outstanding physical with a world class pedigree,” Harron told Owner Breeder. “Her dam was an outstanding performer, putting four Group 1 wins on the board. I remember vividly seeing her at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale in 2009 where she made A$3 million to the bid of Tony Bott, and she certainly had the physique to match her performance.

“I inspected her at the farm and she was just an absolute professional – a fantastic mover like her sire and with a wonderful attitude to boot. I commend Tony Bott and the team at Evergreen for sending Princess Coup all the way across the world to visit Frankel at great risk and expense and producing such a fine specimen – it really is no mean feat, and I hope for everyone involved that she is a great success story.

“Obviously Frankel needs little introduction, though his record in Australia has actually been remarkable. With his Southern Hemisphere runners he has 37% stakes horses to runners, and 17% stakes winners to runners, which is truly outstanding.

“Moreover, with his Southern Hemisphere fillies he has been even more impressive, with 50% stakes horses to runners and 33% stakes winners to runners, so I felt that she represented a great opportunity for our client to purchase a filly with not only an outstanding Australasian pedigree, but also a filly by a world-class stallion in Frankel, whose stock seem particularly suited to the Southern Hemisphere environment.”

This Deep Impact colt went the way of Ciaron Maher – Photo: Inglis

Deep demand

The late Japanese supersire Deep Impact was also unsurprisingly in demand, as an average of A$536,667 attests.

His trio of representatives was led by a colt from the family of Miesque, for whom trainer Ciaron Maher paid A$1.1 million.

Another high-flying sale for Segenhoe Stud, the colt was bred by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum out of South African Group 1 winner Amanee. The daughter of Pivotal boasts regal connections as a half-sister to the dam of Classic-winning miler Karakontie and daughter of Listed winner Moon Is Up, herself a daughter of champion Miesque.