Kermadec stars amid ups and downs at Adelaide sale

The Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday saw a heartening book-end result with six-figure purchases, but a disappointing list of pass-ins once again showed that having the right horse remains key.

That was the statement from Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch, who said Adelaide sale was a particularly selective market and that buyers knew the yearlings they sought had to pass all the criteria to bid.

Former Doncaster winner Kermadec has had a big week, notching his first winner as a stallion and siring the top-priced lot at the Adelaide Magic Millions.Credit:Vince Caligiuri

"On the right horses there was plenty of activity and competition which just goes to prove if you bring the right horse to Adelaide you will be rewarded," he said.

The first lot to sell on Tuesday was a Starcraft colt and the Magic Millions team could not have have got off to a better start with a $140,000 final bid for Hong Kong's John Moore. He will be part of the new stable the champion trainer is about to set up in Sydney and on the Gold Coast.

Moore, who under Hong Kong rules can no longer prepare horses there due to age conditions, will transfer to Australia in the near future and prepare his team in conjunction with his Rosehill-based son, Gary.

The final lot of Book 1 – a Smart Missile colt – then fetched $110,000 from the South Australian training duo of Will Clark and David Jolly. However, there were plenty of highs and lows between the the 401 lots catalogued

The top-priced lot was $270,000 going to the Justin Bahen-Clinton McDonald duo for a Kermadec colt described by the duo as the best yearling of the sale by a considerable margin.

McDonald has been prolific at the major Australian sales in 2020 and there is a strong suggestion that he will join forces with trainer Tim Martin and prepare a team out of Victoria.

Kermadec (Teofilo x Hy Fuji) is part of Darley's massive stallion operation and celebrated his first winner at last Friday's Newcastle meeting with the David Payne-trained filly Montefilia scoring a debut win.

Kermadec won the prestigious Doncaster Mile for Chris Waller as a three-year-old and added another group 1 success in the weight-for-age George Main Stakes. He headed to Darley with almost $3 million in earnings and has been extremely popular since retiring in 2016.

The statistics from Adelaide revealed that 362 yearlings were offered with a gross aggregate of $11,035,500 (up 11 per cent) and an average of $30,318, which was slightly down on the 2019 results for the 302 that were eventually sold.

Fourteen yearlings reached six figures, down from 19 in 2019. The Kermadec colt's price was definitely superior with the $140,000 paid for colts by Widden stallions Zoustar and Nicconi the closest last year's sale got to his price.

Both sold on Wednesday to the Chinese Breeze Up Bloodstock group of Gu Tao and NZ trainer Quinton Cassidy, which extended their buying spree in Australia this year to 38 lots. Cassidy, who trains out of Wuhan in mainland China, and Gu have been in Australia since January and do not intend to return home as a result of the worldwide coronavirus catastrophe.

Cassidy said they have set up training operations in New Zealand and Australia and will add to their team at the Inglis Easter Sales in April.

Coronavirus saw sparse attendance from Hong Kong trainers, who used a number of agents to secure just 13 yearlings for a total of $739,000, down considerably on previous years.

Victorian buyers were the biggest spenders, buying 101 lots for $4,174,000 ahead of the local buyers who claimed 86 lots for $3,270,000 followed by NSW with 30 for $1,035,000.

Trainer Tony McEvoy bought big in South Australia.Credit:AAP

Tony McEvoy, in conjunction with Belmont Bloodstock's Damon Gabbedy, was the biggest buyer with six yearlings at a cost of $435,000 (av $72,5000) and his costliest the Zoustar x Phyl's Choice filly for $140,000.

"I love Zoustar, of course, with Sunlight's amazing record and the filly this week was very different to my champion," McEvoy said.

"She reminded me of a filly I train by Zoustar – Zoulah – who won well recently for me and I think she is up to black-type success. This filly is just a beautiful, flowing filly with a lot of class and after five inspections I believe her to be a gorgeous individual."

Leon MacDonald was the second biggest spender. Seven lots went to the local trainer for $427,000 while Breeze Up Bloodstock finished with four yearlings for $420,000, just ahead of Mark Kavanagh who signed for six youngsters at $408,000.

Kermadec was the leading sire by average with his three lots fetching $300,000 ahead of Zoustar who had five lots change hands at $470,000 (av $94,000).

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