Cruz leads way as caution holds sway

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 December, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 December, 1999, 12:00am

Caution was the keyword with the $2 million barrier broken only once during last night's International Sale at the Hong Kong Convention Centre.

In previous years there have been some spirited duels for griffins offered by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, with the top price hitting over $3 million.

But those were few and far between as bids crept up on several occasions towards the $2 million mark only to stall.

Overall demand was good for the 24 lots finally offered and the Jockey Club has come out on top despite losing several horses along the way.

Not for the first time in this annual event, leading trainer Tony Cruz was involved with the salestopper.

Daniel Koo Shing-cheong, who was once involved with the Peter Ng Bik-kuen Hong Kong Derby winner, Reliable Source, was coaxed over the $2 million mark to land the bay gelding by Marju out of Naiadoora for an extra $50,000.

It was not allowed to escape anyone's attention that Marju is the sire of Indigenous, who goes for glory in tomorrow's Vase.

The gelding was unquestionably one of the best-looking lots and there was some initial bidding which was hot and heavy.

But the less committed backed out just below $2 million before Koo finally made it his.

The legendary Bart Cummings was in action on behalf of owner Andrew Choy Man-shau and they secured a bay gelding by Halo, who has sired two Kentucky Derby winners.

Choy secured the gelding for $1.5 million and with the expert advice he was receiving, there must be some justification for believing he'll get his money back.

The second-highest price paid yesterday was $2 million by owner Chang Keung-fai for a Danehill gelding Taipa trainer Jose Corrales bought a Rahy chestnut colt for $1.45 million for owner Lui Siu-man.

The 24 lots realised $31.1 million as opposed to $28.7 million last year for 23 offered.

Director of racing, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, said: 'It has been very satisfactory. We know that there is now probably a ceiling of about $2 million, which is really quite high.

'It has gone off very well and I think most people enjoyed it and those who were here to buy managed to do that.'