Economic reality hits annual horse sale

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 December, 2008, 12:00am

The Jockey Club was bracing itself for a dose of economic reality yesterday - and it was not disappointed, making a loss on yesterday's 30 lots at the Hong Kong International Sale, where the average price fell 34.1 per cent.

The average price fell from a record HK$4.14 million last year to HK$2.9 million, while the aggregate fell by a similar percentage from HK$132.4 million to HK$87.2 million.

Twelve horses traded at a loss for the club, which buys yearlings at major sales around the world, gets them educated overseas and then brings them to Hong Kong, 'ready to run', for auction on the eve of the Cathay Pacific International races.

The biggest individual loss was for Lot 21, a colt by Redoute's Choice from Marshow. He had been expected to be one of the stars of the sale and was the third-highest-priced lot, at HK$4 million. But that was HK$2.29 million short of what it cost the club to get him to the sales.

The top-priced lot was bought by Cheng Keung-fai for HK$5.5 million. The colt is expected to go to the Tony Cruz stable.

Mark Player, the club's head of international races, sales and development, called the top price 'realistic'.

'To see him top the sale was no surprise,' Mr Player said. 'It was a very realistic price for a beautiful horse with a lot of potential and a wonderful pedigree.'

Mr Player had stressed the club might struggle to recoup its outlays and so it proved, with the sale aggregate HK$1.8 million behind cost. 'Today's figures are a reflection of the global trend for bloodstock at the moment, but it's never been our objective to make a profit either,' Mr Player said. 'This sale is all about providing owners with quality horses.'

Counting the cost

The Jockey Club made less money at this year's Hong Kong International Sale. The difference in the total amount made this year compared with last year, in Hong Kong dollars, is: $45.2m