TRC’s weekly industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
Keeneland: the excitement ‘reverberated around the grounds’
North America: Keeneland’s 13-day September Yearling Sale concluded on Sunday with the Lexington auction house announcing gross sales of $377 million, which was the fourth-highest in September Sale history
Twenty-seven horses were sold for $1 million or more, including three for $2 million-plus - the most since 2007 – and the average price per sale was higher than in 2017. The $2.4 million paid by Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier for a colt by War Front is the highest price paid for a yearling in the world so far this year.
“The September Sale saw an all-out competition for horses that drove the volume of trade to robust levels,” said Bob Elliston, Keeneland’s vice president of racing and sales. “Credit goes to the breeders and consignors who brought one of the best crops of yearlings to market in years. Buyers responded with an enthusiasm that exceeded all our expectations.”
Aside from the acquisition of the War Front colt, the presence of the highly anticipated yearlings from the first crop of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah boosted the cash flow, as well as the attendance of Sheikh Mohammed, who in the name of Godolphin/Godolphin Japan acquired 27 yearlings for $19.9 million, the highest amount for a single buying entity since 2006.
The Dubai ruler’s purchases were highlighted by seven million-dollar-plus purchases, led by a colt by a American Pharoah yearling for $2.2 million. Elliston believed that the presence of Sheikh Mohammed, his brother Sheikh Hamdan, and the Coolmore contingent “changed the atmosphere of the sale” and created an “excitement that reverberates around the sales grounds”.
ITM to continue backing the Breeders’ Cup
Europe: Irish Thoroughbred Marketing (ITM) has renewed as an official partner of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Churchill Downs on November 2-3.
ITM, which promotes Ireland as a leading source for the production and sale of quality Thoroughbreds worldwide, will have branding rights to a private lounge at the Breeders’ Cup, the Horsemen’s Enclosure, throughout the multi-year agreement.
Horses based in Ireland have made a total of 297 starts in the Breeders’ Cup, which has resulted in 28 Breeders’ Cup winners, the most of any nation outside the United States.
Good Magic to stand at Hill ‘n’ Dale
North America: Multiple G1-winning champion Good Magic has been retired and will stand at John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Lexington.
The son of Curlin was trained throughout his career by Chad Brown for the co-ownership group of e-Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables. Good Magic was named 2017 Eclipse champion 2-year old male following a dominant 4¼-length victory in last year’s $2 Million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar.
He won three $1 million-dollar races and claimed a respectable second to undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify in the Kentucky Derby before capturing $1 Million G1 Haskell Invitational later in the season.
He retires with a record of 9-3-3-1 with career earnings of $2,945,000. He will stand for a fee of $35,000.
Chinese group’s Melbourne Carnival sponsorship
Oceania: Chinese multinational electronics company TCL has extended its sponsorship of the Melbourne Cup Carnival for a further three years.
Under the terms of the renewal, TCL will enjoy brand exposure across Flemington Racecourse during the festival, which runs from November 3 to 10. It will once again be the title sponsor of the TCL TV Stakes, which takes place on Oaks Day, as well as supplying all televisions for the event through its large permanent viewing structure at the racecourse.
This is the 14th year that TLC has been a sponsor of the event. Mark Zhang, general manager of TCL Australia, promised fans that it would “provide an immersive experience”, whether they are at the “track or on the edge of their seats at home”.
French racing boost for ATR
Europe: At The Races (ATR) has announced that its dedicated subscription TV channel, Sky Sports Racing, will be the exclusive pay TV broadcast home of French racing in the UK and Ireland for three years from January 1, 2019.
The agreement includes 27 G1 flat races, a further 214 flat Pattern races, nine G1 jumps races and Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe day at ParisLongchamp.
ATR’s online platform, Attheraces.com, will be the online video streaming provider for Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) in the UK & Ireland, showing over 10,000 live French Thoroughbred and trotting races to the UK and Irish online betting markets.
Matthew Imi, chief executive of At The Races, said, “This is a very exciting new partnership for us with France Galop, Le Trot and PMU and one that has immense potential.”
Ellerslie track gets the green light
Oceania: After a successful test on its course proper on Monday, the Auckland Racing Club has confirmed racing will resume at Ellerslie Racecourse on Saturday October 27.
Ellerslie has not hosted any race meetings since Auckland Cup week in March, to allow for a drainage upgrade to its track.
On Monday, 12 horses, guided by senior jockeys in Samantha Spratt, Samantha Collett, Matt Cameron, Opie Bosson, Vinnie Colgan and Shafiq Rusof, galloped in pairs on the course proper in what was the track’s second and final test since work was completed.
All jockeys were unanimous in their praise of the track. “The team at Ellerslie have done a great job,” Cameron said. “The track is in fantastic order and I look forward to racing at Ellerslie next month.”