Danehill's last colt shatters sale record

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 December, 2006, 12:00am

Records fell at yesterday's Hong Kong International Sale, with the last colt by late, great sire Danehill ever to be sold at public auction fetching HK$7.5 million and shattering the sale record in the process.

The 28 lots sold - 30 were catalogued, but two were withdrawn yesterday morning owing to lameness and a bone chip - grossed a whopping HK$81.2 million, for an average price of HK$2.9 million.

This compared to 27 lots selling last year for HK$48 million at an average of HK$1.77 million. The aggregate rose by 69.2 per cent, while the average hike was 63.2 per cent year on year - both figures creating new records.

The Danehill colt, one of only three colts at the sale (all the others being geldings), was widely tipped to break the previous record of HK$6 million set two years ago by the King's Best colt who became known as Can Opener.

'It is an extremely strong economy at present so I would have to say I was pretty optimistic we would have a very good sale,' Jockey Club executive director of racing, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, said.

However, Engelbrecht-Bresges emphasised that although it was pleasing to have such a record-breaking sale - which gave the Jockey Club a record HK$30 million profit on its total outlay - making money was not the club's purpose in running the sale.

'The prices for the thoroughbred horses are increasing all over the world but we still believe we give value for money,' he said.

Not only is the top-priced Danehill colt bred in the purple, he has a stallion's pedigree as well, with strong collections on both sides of his pedigree and a lot of 'blue sky' if he succeeds on the racetrack.

The colt is out of an American-bred mare, Sister Dot, by the great 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat and she has already produced Dehere, a former champion American juvenile and now a leading sire.

With a pedigree like that it would have been criminal to have gelded the colt, and Engelbrecht-Bresges certainly agreed. 'If we had cut him, I think it would have cut the heart of a lot of people,' he quipped.

After a bidding war with Wong Wing-keung, owner of champion miler Bullish Luck, the colt was finally knocked down to Cheng Keung-fai, after Wong topped out at HK$7.2 million.

It is not known at this stage who will train the bay colt, though the trainer of Cheng's current horse, Progressing Times, is Andy Leung Ting-wah.

Wong compensated himself by buying a Mizzen Mast gelding for HK$2.5 million, three lots later. The horse is expected to go to Bullish Luck's trainer, Tony Cruz.