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Main Christchurch pacing sale wraps up

NZ HARNESS NEWS

The latest incarnation of the Premier Yearling Sale concluded at the A&P Showgrounds in Christchurch on Wednesday afternoon with encouraging statistics to justify the changes.

A healthy clearance rate of 80.4 percent across the 194 pacing lots in the main pacing section was supported by an average of $31,698.

The top price was $190,000 for a Bettor’s Delight full brother to Perth star Chicago Bull, that sold to Sydneysider Emilio Rosati.

It was one of only two lots that sold in the six-figure range, the other being a Bettor’s Delight colt out of former good racemare Beaudiene Bad Babe, which sold to Auckland trainer Barry Purdon for $125,000.

It was a big dip on last year, when nine lots went for $100,000 or more, but the flip side is that the upper-middle market was much stronger, 31 lots going for between $50,000 and $99,000, up from 23 last year.

The top filly was a Bettor’s Delight out of Nitouche Franco, who has left seven winners from her seven previous foals for Invercargill breeder Diane Cournane, and was sold to Victoria’s Merv and Meg Butterworth for $80,000.

In a coup for Southland, the top two colts and the top filly came from the region, the sale-topper being offered by Winton’s Katrina and John Price.

Todd and Fleur Anderson, also from Winton, had a satisfying sale with the progeny of their hand-picked band of elite broodmares.

As well as the second highest lot in the sale, they also had foals sell well out of De Lovely ($80,000), Joanne’s A Delight ($61,000), The Fascinator ($60,000) and Imaginary Bet ($41,000).

The extremely private Winton couple, who are relatively new to professional breeding and operate under the Taffy Limited banner, can probably claim top honours amongst the breeders.

Christchurch’s Paul and Pauline Renwick will also be celebrating a good sale, selling a $90,000 colt to Mark Purdon as well others for $85,000, $62,500 and $55,000.

On the buying front, dual-island trainer Robert Dunn was the busiest, signing for six lots, including an $80,000 colt by Art Major.

West Melton trainer Nigel McGrath took home five lots, as did Dunedin owner Garry Clarke and Christchurch owner Keith Ovens.

The north island was well-represented by Barry Purdon, Tony Herlihy, Brent Mangos and Lincoln Farms, but the Australian bench was very quiet outside of Rosati and the Butterworths’ singular purchases.

The All Stars barn of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are making a conscious effort to buy less yearlings this year, but still picked up a handful between Purdon, Jean Feiss, Jim Gibbs and Phil and Glenys Kennard.

The Kennards bought three, to go with their six in Auckland and one in Melbourne, but as many as half of that ten will be trained by Michael House.

Bruce Barlass, of auction house PGG Wrightson, was in a buoyant mood at the conclusion of the pacing session, believing the new format was well-received by all concerned.

He said there was a feeling of disappointment around the Auckland sale on Monday, but the two main sales in Christchurch helped ease that pain.

“The feeling I got was that the buyers felt that there was better value for their dollar down here in Christchurch.

“Auckland always wants to be the first sale, which can be advantageous by having the first bite at the cherry, so to speak.

“But this year the buyers up there weren’t really engaged as they could see more value down here.

“I think the South Island catalogue had a bit more diversity, especially with the trotters yesterday.”

The bottom line saw Auckland down 10%, Christchurch pacers up a fraction more than that – though with a smaller, better-credentialed catalogue, and a trotting sale that will only grow bigger and better.

At the time of writing, the supplementary sale of 55 lots on Wednesday evening was in full swing and prices had ranged from $1,500 to $28,000 across the first 25 lots.

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