A fantastic result is how Barry Bowditch - managing director of Magic Millions Bloodstock, described its 2020 edition of the Magic Millions Yearling Sale at the Gold Coast, Book 1 concluding on Saturday night.
"For the first time ever to have a quarter of a million average at this sale - given the sale had 888 lots (catalogued) - is an awesome result," Barry said.
A clearance rate of near 88 per cent resulted, for 709 sold lots over four days of Book 1, averaging $250,221. The gross tallied $177.4 million.
"The depth, diversity and strength were at all levels of the market - the middle market especially, and to retain an almost 88 per cent clearance, is just fantastic," Barry said.
Interestingly in 2018, a $2m top was achieved, while in 2019 it was $1.7m. Also, last year had 684 lots sell for an average of $239,809 ($228,000 in 2018).
Fresh from the announcement of Castelvecchio retiring to Arrowfield Stud - with its connections becoming a major shareholder in the Dundeel stallion, Sydney racegoers Ottavio and Wendy Galletta became the new owners of the Magic Millions' sale topping colt which fetched $1.9m.
Also consigned by Arrowfield Stud, the colt was by Japan's now deceased champion sire Deep Impact, from Group winner Honesty Prevails. Like Castelvecchio, the top priced colt will be trained at Warwick Farm by Richard Litt, who is likely to move into nearby Victory Lodge, which was recently purchased by Mr Galletta. Victory Lodge is where renowned conditioner Clarry Connors prepared several Golden Slipper winners.
Godolphin's Darley owned Australian bred champion Exceed And Excel secured the second highest sale top as well as the Danehill sire's highest ever sale price at $1.8m. A colt - produced from dual Group 1 winner Platelet, was sold via Wingen property Cressfield, to Hawkes Racing.
Recently under threat from bushfires to save his multi-million-dollar empire - Milburn Creek Thoroughbreds in the Southern Highlands, John Muir was rewarded when topping Day 1 with his Exceed And Excel colt, which fetched $1.1m. Selling to Tom Magnier and his Coolmore Stud team, the colt - produced from the unraced Frankel mare Dream in Colour, was consigned to Milburn Creek via Victorian farm Hilldene.
Ian Smith's well-known Edinburgh Park Stud near Taree set a new home benchmark when another colt by Exceed And Excel sold for $1m. Produced from the imported US bred mare Smokin' Alice, the colt is a half-brother to the $2m Magic Millions Guineas' runner-up Eleven Eleven.
Melbourne bloodstock agent Sheamus Mills paid $1.5m for the top-priced and flashy looking filly by Written Tycoon, from Karuta Queen (won 2011 Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic) which sold from John Singleton's Strawberry Hill Stud.
While last year 11 horses sold for $1m or more, 10 made seven figures this year.
Alligator claims Guineas victory
For the second successive year, a filly by Arrowfield Stud's champion sire Snitzel - named Away Game, took the $2m Magic Millions The Star Two-Year-Old Classic, while Alligator Blood easily won the $2m Magic Millions Guineas at the Gold Coast's extravaganza race day on Saturday.
The second Two-Year-Old Classic win for jockey Luke Currie in three years (after Sunlight in 2018), Away Game was purchased for $425,000 (from Mill Park South Australia) by Kerri Radcliffe Bloodstock, an enthusiast American netball player who named the filly via her sport, as she plays "home and away games".
Raced by an all-female group, including Ms Radcliffe, Hannah Mathieson and their friends and family, the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, Victoria, trained Away Game also collected an additional $325,000 as part of the Magic Millions Racing Women's Bonus.
While pre-race setbacks including a major accident on the freeway on route to the races, Alligator Blood confirmed his Group 1 talent for his sire All Too Hard after running away in the $2m Magic Millions Three-Year-Old Guineas.
Trained by Sunshine Coast trainer David Vandyke, Alligator Blood cost $55,000 when sold by Gerry Harvey's Baramul Stud, Widden Valley, in 2018. The gelding has now won eight of his nine races and over $2.1m. Eleven Eleven was second, and last year's Two-Year-Old Classic winner Exhilarates third.