SYDNEY Easter festivities came early this year when world-wide Thoroughbred industry participants arrived by land, sea and air for the time honoured Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale at Warwick Farm this week.
It did not take long for the first million-dollar horses to appear with 11 horses reaching the seven-figure mark.
Though absent and convalescing after a hip operation, long time owner and breeder George Altomonte via his boutique Corumbene Stud near Dunedoo, received his biggest thrill at an auction-sale when his home-bred flashy chestnut colt topped the first day (Tuesday) of the sale at $2.8 million.
Selling to Sydney bloodstock agent James Harron, the colt (or should I say his price-tag) had the ring-side crowd spellbound for several minutes before reaching a price that topped the first day of the celebrated two-day annual auction.
The fifth most expensive yearling ever sold in Australia, the colt was by Arrowfield Stud-based champion sire Snitzel, at Scone, and from Corumbene's bred and raced stakes winning mare Ichihara.
Another champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock also caused some commotion among the crowd with massive prices.
Home of Fastnet Rock, Coolmore Stud, Jerrys Plains, was responsible for selling the second top on day one at $2.3 million, for a colt from stakes-winning producer Legally Bay, which made the youngster a full-brother to Melbourne and Royal Ascot, England, Group 1 winner Merchant Navy.
The record-breaking day one of the sale saw buyers spend a total of $61.79m for the 163 sold lots for an average of $379,083. The clearance rate was 81 per cent.
The third highest price on day one was the colt by champion Japanese sire Deep Impact (from Grito), which sold from Arrowfield Stud for $1.7m.