Gai magic races on into 2014
AFTER an unforgettable 2013 Gai Waterhouse has ensured she will remain in the spotlight as the curtain draws on a confidence-boosting Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast.
The 2013 Golden Slipper and Melbourne Cup winning trainer was the prominent figure across the eight days.
She made the first million dollar purchase - a son of Redoute's Choice - on the way to outlaying $8 million for 39 horses to become the sale's biggest buyer.
Magic Millions Guineas winner Sweet Idea rounded out Waterhouse's winning treble on Saturday, in which only horses bought at previous Magic Millions auctions can be nominated, proving she knows a thing or two when choosing a yearling.
This year's sale grossed in excess of $75 million at an average of $144,000 a yearling.
"Vendors presented an outstanding draft of yearlings that sold well above expectations," Magic Millions managing director Vin Cox said. "The market was very strong and also very consistent. The buyers were willing to participate across all levels of the market and that created a magical vibe."
Clarence River Jockey Club executive officer Michael Beattie was amongst the hum of activity on the Gold Coast. He believed the results would have surprised most people in the racing industry.
"I think the removal of major players Patinack Farm and BC3 Thoroughbreds from the buying bench probably meant people expected sales averages would be down," Beattie said.
"The interesting, and totally unexpected thing, however, was new syndication Round Table Racing being so active, buying 15 horses.
"But it was not only what they bought, it was about the ones they ran second on, that other people would eventually buy."
Contract bloodstock auctioneer Clint Donovan has brought and sold at the Magic Millions in previous years, and attended the event last week.
He said the positive outcomes delivered confidence to the Australasian yearling market.
"The middle end of the market was extremely competitive," he said.
"This was particularly so in the 100 to 200 thousand dollar range.
"The syndication market is getting stronger and stronger.
"Many vendors sold their nicer horses for more than they expected.
"The clearance rate was astronomical too.
"Normally a solid clearance rate would be 75 to 80%.
"This year it ended up clearing about 89%
"One run in particular saw 59 horses in a row go under the hammer, which is unbelievable.
"How the Magic Millions have gone is good for confidence in the yearling market."