The 2014 Australian Easter Yearling Sale continued the trend in Australasian and overseas bloodstock sales in recent months with strong competition for quality individuals. A truly international buying bench meant once again it proved difficult for Australian buyers to "get in" and compete with buyers from Europe, Dubai, Qatar, Japan and Hong Kong. While there weren't $5m and $4m dollar yearlings as in 2013, the top end of the market was again very strong as various Sheiks and Hong Kong's racing elite battled it out around the Newmarket sales ring for premium lots.
A clearance rate of 83% (the best since 2008) and an average price for Session I of $252,873 and Session II of $94,922 (a new record) meant one certainly needed to have done their homework on the entire catalogue as it was easy to be blown out of the water on certain lots, as valuations went out the window and many horses fetched double the price of vendor and buyer pre sales estimations.
Thankfully Julian Blaxland his team had done the hard work pre sale and managed to secure 3 yearlings from their shortlist for on or below pre sale budget. "It's a miracle really, this sale is so strong for the right horse and we simply had to wait patiently and bid to our limit on the horses we really wanted" said Bloodstock Director Julian Blaxland. "We were smashed on Day 1 on a couple of nice colts but fell in love with a Northern Meteor/Tara's Spur colt prepared by Newhaven Park Stud on Day 2 and teamed with his sire's trainer Gai Waterhouse in order to buy him for our Stallion Fund for $450,000. He is from a Flying Spur mare and is from the family of Tuesday Joy, Sunday Joy and Arlington Road and physically looks a cracking juvenile in the making. Gai has trained most of the family and he looks like he'll fly like a bullet once she gets him up and going towards the end of the year".
Blaxland and Gai Waterhouse struck again on Day 2, securing a full sister to dual Group 1 placed 2yo Cornrow, purchasing lot 330 - the Duporth/Baby Corn filly from the draft of Kitchwin Hills Stud for $260,000. "I came to Easter to buy colts for our Stallion Fund, but I loved this filly so much we just had to have her as part of our team" said Blaxland. I haven't seen a filly with this much quality since I purchased juvenile stakes winner She's Meaner in 2007 at the Magic Millions Premier Sale. Just the second foal of Stakes winner Baby Corn, the filly is a full sister to Group 1 Blue Diamond and Group 1 Sire's Produce place-getter Cornrow. "Her brother is a Group 1 performer, her dam is a stakes winner, her grand-dam is a stakes winner and her great-grand-dam is stakes winner so if she runs to her looks and pedigree, I have no doubt she'll also add black type to the family once she hits the track".
Keen to secure another colt for the 2014 Stallion Fund, the Blue Sky team had to wait until the last lot of the sale on Day 3 (Lot 555) to secure it's final purchase, a magnificent colt by leading sire Snitzel from American mare Venus, a half sister to Group 1 winner Storm Trooper. Listed in the supplementary catalogue on behalf of Victorian Stud Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm, the handsome son of Snitzel will be trained by leading Sydney trainer Gerald Ryan, the trainer of his sire Snitzel himself and the breed's most successful progeny including Snitzerland, Flying Snitzel, Bachman etc. "I went back and inspected this colt probably 10 times over the course of the week" said Blaxland. "He has a presence about him only good horses have. A great frame, with a beautiful action and a stallion's head on him, he's a worthy addition to our Stallion Fund this year." Purchased in conjunction with Dean Hawthorne Bloodstock for $180,000, he was certainly great value on the sale and was rated as one of the two best Snitzel colts at Easter by trainer Gerald Ryan, the other, a colt from Layette selling for $725,000.