And The Magic Continues…

The top lot of the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Lot 373, a colt by I Am Invincible, topped the 2018 sale with a price tag of $2 million (Sharon Lee Chapman)


As far as records go, this was a doozy.

Despite “cautious optimism” heading into the 2018 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, most had considered the opening act of the Australian sales season would hold steady. Indeed, given the mooted absence of some international buyers, the auction house would have happily accepted a result comparable to that of 2017.

However, Magic Millions produced the best result of its 32 year history and by the time the last lot of Book 1 was gavelled on Saturday night, the Gold Coast sale had recorded the highest gross of any sale conducted in the southern hemisphere.

Ultimately, 684 lots were sold (at a massive 89% clearance) with a gross of $155,952,000 (up 16% on last year) and an average of $228,000 (+10%). The median too had risen by 6% to $170,000.

Highlights were spread across the four sessions, including the I Am Invincible sale topper on Day 2, which Yarraman Park sold to Reg Inglis, Jon Kelly and Paul Frampton for $2 million, while no less than five lots were knocked down for a $1 million or more on the Friday. Eventually, nine yearlings would make seven figures.

Harry Mitchell, whose Yarraman Park Stud would be leading vendor by average ($427,143), also has the distinction of standing the sale’s premier sire, I Am Invincible, whose three million-plus youngsters drove his aggregate to $17,710,000.

“We’ve been coming to the Magic Millions since it started, but this year’s result was something special,” Mitchell enthused. “People were worried that some buyers weren’t going to turn up, but there were plenty of others there obviously.

“The Australian market is just so buoyant with its fantastic prizemoney.

“But the most important thing is that racing in this country has become fun again. Ownership is so much more achievable here as opposed to other countries … you just need to have a look at the number of syndicates. She Will Reign won a Golden Slipper and you have a horse like Redzel that comes out and wins the $10 million The Everest.

“And what about the $10 million raceday at the Gold Coast on Saturday … a lot of those winners had big teams of owners. Great stuff.”

Another yearling to attain seven figures – perhaps deservedly so in light of of Pierata’s subsequent victory in the $2 million Guineas – was the Pierro colt colt from Dance Card offered by Bhima Thoroughbreds.

“He was a lovely, forward horse, but I was little surprised that he made that much ($1,050,000),” Bhima’s Mike Fleming reveals. “It was just a phenomenal sale overall … I’ve been taking horses to the Gold Coast for a long time and this was one of the best, if not THE best sale I’ve been involved with. The clearance rate was remarkable and there was great depth from top to bottom.

“They really continue to grow the Magic Millions sale and it does set the benchmark for the year ahead.”

With such huge prices for breeders, it only stands to reason that buyers would be lamenting the cost of entry, but if Julian Blaxland of Blue Sky Bloodstock wasn’t happy, he was doing a bang up job of hiding it.

By Sunday night, Blaxland had outlaid $6.6 million for 27 yearlings – purchased in tandem with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott – along with another $2.3 million for 11 youngsters on behalf of long-time client, Mark Sowerby.

Apart from loading up with a passel of what he considers high quality yearlings, Blaxland was still on cloud nine after Sunlight – the $300,000 filly he had purchased last year with the McEvoy Mitchell racing stable and Aquis Farm – won Saturday’s $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic and is now nominal favourite for the Golden Slipper.

“It was terrific for all the owners and a great result too for Tony (McEvoy) who was so meticulous in his preparation of the filly,” Blaxland adds.

“When I started up Blue Sky Bloodstock around 10 years ago, I had purchased a filly called She’s Meaner who won her first three starts and was favourite for the 2YO Classic, only to just get nutted right on the wire by Augusta Proud.

“Mark Sowerby’s horse, From Within, was equal favourite for the race last year, but nothing went right on the day. So, to finally nail it with Sunlight, is just an incredible result.”

Not surprisingly, Blaxland is a huge fan of the Gold Coast Magic Millions and believes that both the bloodstock on offer and its niche on the calendar are the perfect marriage.

“Being the first sale of the year provides buyers with a huge advantage,” Blaxland points out. “That kind of quality gives you a couple of months head start, which in turn provides you with more time to on-sell them, and then they tend to get to the trials earlier. That’s why Magic Millions continues to have such a great record with 2YOs.”

While the 2018 Magic Millions turned a new page for the company, it was to be the final hurrah for its Managing Director, Vin Cox, who takes up the reins at breeding and racing powerhouse, Godolphin, from this week.

After seven years at the helm, Cox was given the ‘honour’ of auctioneering the final lot on Sunday afternoon (for the record, the Charge Forward colt from Trois Coleurs was knocked down for $80,000).

“The thoroughbred industry world-wide is in a really healthy state, but nowhere better than in Australia … with such incredible prizemoney on offer, it really is easy to promote the Australian racehorse,” Cox explains. “The domestic buying bench drives the market, while the investment from overseas is the cream on the top.

“It was great to play a part at Magic Millions for the past seven years and the 2018 sale was an obvious highlight, while securing the $10 million race day, along with conducting the Teeley Dispersal in 2014, are right up there too.

“Overall though, the biggest take away is the tremendous support from breeders and owners. It’s made the sale what it is today.”

The Power of Passion