By the time the sun had set on the final day of selling at the 2016 Adelaide Magic Millions last week, there was a sense of buoyancy about the South Australian breeding industry not experienced for some time.
Even Magic Millions’ Adelaide consultant, Adrian Hancock, who has watched many thousands of yearlings walk the Morphettville ring over the years, couldn’t recall an Adelaide sale like it. Certainly not since the heady 1980s.
Figures were up significantly across the board: gross (+55%), average (+34%), median (+36%) and a terrific clearance rate of 84%.
However, to describe this sale solely in fiscal terms, would be a disservice, Hancock muses: “There was a real vibrancy about this sale. Confidence was way up and I couldn’t get over the strength of bidding – multiple bidders on just about every horse.
“The Australian dollar is so attractive to international buyers and it has a kind of domino effect on those that can’t compete at the top. Even at the bottom end though, the days of trying to pinch one are over – buyers would much rather pay 50% to share in a good one than 100% for something they don’t really like.
“There was real quality about the catalogue of course, but I think the race day plays such a big part too and horses like Mahuta and Husson Eagle coming out of the sale is really beginning to have an impact.
“Victorian buyers spent up massively and there now appears to be a real synergy between the two states.
“Apart from all of that, it’s a great complex and not very far from Glenelg with the beaches and good hotels.”
Sam Hayes, who runs Cornerstone Stud and is as much a part of the fabric of the South Australian industry as anyone, was also taken aback by the strength of the market.
“Adrian (Hancock) did a great job in pulling that catalogue together and the sale really exceeded expectations. I also thought one of the upsides was the interest in quality fillies.
“Ultimately, there were 20 yearlings that sold for $100,000 or more and it’s great to see that kind of confidence here in South Australia. A great sale.”
Moving forward, Inglis Director, Jonathan D’Arcy has obviously been closely observing the nation’s auctions leading up to the three-day Australian Easter Yearling Sale which commences on 5 April, but was cautiously optimistic about any suggestion of upward trends.
“Easter was up 15% last year and it would be difficult to replicate that kind of increase in 2016,” D’Arcy said. “That said, prizemoney levels are on the increase and country racing is very strong too.
“One of the misnomers about Easter is that it’s too expensive : this sale really is for everyone as horses such as Flying Artie ($50,000) and recent stakes winner Selenia ($30,000) show.
“I also believe that first time investment in the industry is growly rapidly as well so, like everyone, I’m excited about Easter and what’s in store.”