International Sale a hit even in troubled economic times
Strong bidding and a higher than expected average price resulted in another successful Hong Kong International Sale in December - much to the relief of organisers who feared a severe downturn in light of the bleak economic climate.
The sale is most famous for bringing three-time Hong Kong International Mile winner Good Ba Ba to Hong Kong, but December's renewal may have unearthed a new pin-up boy to carry the flag for the sale into coming seasons.
In a promising sign for the Jockey Club's sale organisers, London China Town has stepped in to make an early mark in his career, winning five of his first six races for trainer Manfred Man Ka-leung.
The War Chant gelding was knocked down to owner Yau Tim for HK$4 million - slightly above the average price paid at the sale.
The 19-lot sale grossed HK$70.4 million at an average of HK$3.7 million per horse, a stronger than expected result for the Jockey Club which feared economic uncertainty would drastically affect the success of the auction.
The Club originally bought 36 horses for the sale, but offered only 19 for auction following the rigorous veterinary tests to ensure owners acquire horses that are sound and physically robust before they embark on their racing careers.
The top priced purchase was made by Unique Jewellery's owner, Tung Moon-fai, who paid HK$5.7 million for the son of Exceed And Excel.
The horse is under the care of John Size and not surprisingly had only a light first preparation, with connections saving the well-bred youngster, now named Elite Jewellery, for a debut run next season.
In the final year of the International Sale Graduates bonus, the Caspar Fownes-trained Flying Supreme held out stablemate Mark Up to claim the HK$1 million prize for the best performed 2008 ISG of the season.