Victorian farms shine on the Gold Coast as the sale season opens

With exceptional clearance rates and impressive average sale prices right across the board, Victorian vendors and stallions punched well above their weight at the 2024 Magic Millions Yearling Sale. 

Over the five days of the world-famous sale, Victorian operations played their part in the spending spree with the state’s farms selling 85 per cent of their yearlings. Significantly, the average price of $288,000 was higher than the overall average of $279,000. 

A total of 15 Victorian-bred yearlings were knocked down for more than $500,000, topped by the $1.3 million David Ellis’ Te Akau Racing paid for Lot 332, Blue Gum Farm’s prized colt (Snitzel x Vaujany).

Having focused primarily on the Melbourne Inglis Premier Yearling Sale under the four decades-long stewardship of Philip and Patti Campbell, Blue Gum entered a new era last week with Sean Dingwall and his fellow Trilogy Rural investors at the helm.

And the new team couldn’t have got off to a better start on their first foray to the Gold Coast, with Ellis outlasting his rival bidders in a feverish sales ring to ensure the Blue Gum name was put up in lights on the Glitter Strip. 

“We knew this boy was pretty special, right from the start,” said Dingwall, who now owns the prestigious farm in partnership with his wife Cathy and business partners Jason and Mel Stenning. 

“He’s always been a great type, and he had all the usual hallmarks of a Snitzel colt. The mare also comes from a fabulous family and she’s a great match for Snitzel, so we’re obviously all thrilled with the result. 

“Because of his looks and his type, we were always confident that he would sell well, but at the same time it’s hard to put a price on any horse because you’re never sure how well the market is going to hold up. He had been very well inspected in the lead-up, so we thought he’d be popular when he went through the ring, but to get $1.3 million for him certainly exceeded our expectations.”

Victorian stallions also showcased the vibrant health of the state’s breeding industry with an eye-catching clearance rate of 92 per cent – well above the overall rate of 86 per cent.

Yulong Stud’s flagbearer Written Tycoon again led from the front, with his chestnut filly out of Piping Hot fetching $800,000 on the opening day. 

Whilst Written Tycoon is in the twilight of his stud career, Victorian newcomers Hanseatic (Rosemont Stud), Doubtland (Widden Stud) and Alabama Express (Yulong Farm) all really hit the ground running. 

Speed machine Hanseatic made a splash for Anthony Mithen’s renowned farm, with his progeny selling for an average price of $238,333 – more than 13 times higher than his 2021 stud fee of $17,600. 

Similarly, Doubtland’s progeny averaged $168,333 from a 2021 stud fee of just $16,500, whilst Alabama Express – whose 2021 stud fee was $24,750 – continued his stratospheric rise with his yearlings fetching an average price of $277,333.  

The yearling sale season continued at the end of January, with New Zealand Bloodstock’s Karaka Sale performing strongly. At the close of selling, the Book 1 aggregate reached just shy of $80 million, a 14% increase on last year, while the average rounded out at $168,257, an 11% increase. 

From this week, there are additional sales around the country, beginning with the Inglis Classic Sale at Riverside Stables in New South Wales from February 11-13. 

Next week, the sales go west, with the Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale attracting a quality line up of 352 lots – selling across two days, February 22 and 23. It will then be Tasmania’s turn on Monday, February 26. 

From there, all roads lead to Melbourne’s Inglis Premier Yearling Sale at Oaklands Junction from 3-5 March. Inglis welcomes all Victorian owners to attend this exciting event, with further details available in the next article.